Tax season is in full swing, and unfortunately, even people we trust with our personal information often have full access to easily commit tax fraud and identity theft. From tax preparers being convicted of stealing identities to claim millions in false tax refunds to a former military hospital employee charged with filing 1,000 fraudulent tax returns, the crimes are widespread.
Military hospital employee charged with stealing soldier identities
A former military-hospital employee is being charged with stealing soldier identities for tax fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Tracy Mitchell is accused of using her position as an employee at Fort Benning Hospital in Georgia to steal service member identities and use their information to file 1,000 false tax returns claiming more than $2.2 million. Federal agents found more than $300,000 in cash stored in a safe at Mitchell's home in Phenix City, Alabama.
“Identity theft is a horrible crime, but stealing identities from those who are serving our country is absolutely deplorable,” said U.S. Attorney George Beck in a news release. “While the defendant is presumed innocent, my office will vigorously prosecute those who prey on our military.”
If convicted, Mitchell faces up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and a mandatory two-year sentence for the identity theft counts.
Two Miami men convicted in $35 million stolen ID tax scheme
Two tax preparers have been convicted of claiming $35 million in false refunds using stolen identities, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Delvin "Doo Doo" Jean-Baptiste of Royal Tax Multiservices and Herve Wilmore Jr. of Worldwide Income Tax Multiservices received $14 million in fraudulent returns.
Along with co-conspirators, these defendants used the personal information of dozens of people, many deceased, to prepare and file false and fraudulent income tax returns with the IRS.
When sentenced in June, Jean-Baptiste and Wilmore each face up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and seven more years for conspiracy and identity theft.
False tax returns uncover 300-employee data breach
More than 300 employees of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center were affected by a data breach and identity theft scheme, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Employees discovered their identities were stolen when they got letters in the mail from Ally Bank confirming that they had established new online accounts.
Someone used the employees' identities to electronically file false tax returns. Initially, officials thought the theft only affected 22 employees.
University officials still have not found the source of the breach and are working with the IRS, FBI, postal inspectors, U.S. Attorney's Office and the Secret Service, according to a statement to TribLive.