The Department of Justice investigated identity theft related to fraudulent tax returns and the investigation resulted in 105 people from 23 different states becoming the targets of accusations. This investigation included search warrants, indictments and arrests. This investigation into fraudulent tax returns has also affected a number of New Jersey residents.
Last June, elements of the identity fraud used to file fraudulent tax returns were discovered by New Jersey law enforcement that had gone undercover. Specifically, a New Jersey postal employee allegedly provided mailing addresses to the undercover law enforcement in exchange for money.
The addresses provided were ones that were on the postal employee’s mail route. The use of the mailing addresses provided by the postal employee would allow someone to fraudulently use them to obtain tax returns and the postal employee would divert the related mail from the regular mail stream.
No additional information was provided regarding potential charges filed against the postal employee. Another arrest was made that relates to a different factor in the use of identity theft for fraudulent tax return purposes. The woman who was arrested was involved in tax preparer services. Through the tax preparer services, the woman used identity fraud to claim tax returns that were deposited into accounts that she controlled. The woman was charged with aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and filing false tax form. She eventually pled guilty to all of the charges.
Identity theft offenses are very fact specific and require extensive investigation, by both the prosecution and the defendants. Those accused of identity theft have the right to defend against the accusations. The system only works when both sides are given an equal chance to present their case.
Source: WTVM.com, “Tax day horror story: Taking your money…and your identity,” Ron Scherer, April 16, 2012