More than one month after tax season, authorities are still fighting against identity thieves who tried to score a big pay day using someone else's private data. In many cases, the tax preparers consumers trusted with their information and refunds are the thieves.
Florida Man Faces 22 Years for ID Theft, Tax Fraud Scheme
Judes Celestin pleaded guilty to using stolen identities to claim about $1 million in fraudulent tax refunds, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Authorities say Celestin operated two tax-filing services — JC Easy Tax and Tax Filing Made Easy — and used client information to claim refunds for himself. He had about $1 million in refunds sent to his companies' bank accounts.
When sentenced in August, Celestin faces a possible 22-year prison sentence.
New Jersey University Employees Victimized by Identity Thieves
About 40 New Jersey City University employees had their identities stolen and used to file fraudulent tax returns, The Jersey Journal reports.
Employees discovered the theft when they were unable to claim their own federal tax refunds because someone else had filed using their names and personal information.
Union leaders representing university employees say thieves gained access to the personal information because of a data breach at the school. University officials say they are still investigating but that so far there is no evidence of a connection between the identity theft and the school.
Arizona Tax Preparer Found Guilty in ID Theft Tax Scheme
A former tax preparer was convicted of using her clients' information to file fake tax returns, the Associated Press reports.
Latoya Nivea Morehead worked as a tax preparer at various companies. She was found guilty of identity theft, wire fraud and false statements — 43 counts in all.
Officials say Morehead didn't report income on her own tax returns and her clients never received refunds, because Morehead was falsely claiming under their names.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 30.
Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
Richard Terrell Jasper pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and filing fraudulent tax returns, according to the Sun Herald.
Authorities say Jasper obtained $17,000 from claims he filed using stolen identities.
Jasper faces a minimum of two years, a $250,000 fine and an order to repay the funds at his July 29 sentencing.
Police Investigate Identity Theft at Ohio H&R Block
Identity thieves broke into an H&R Block in Huber Heights, Ohio and are using the stolen information to open credit accounts and make online purchases, WKEF reports.
Police are investigating several cases of identity theft that stemmed from the break-in and, along with H&R Block, sent out hundreds of letters warning other potential victims.