Change can be good; there, I’ve said it.  Sometimes it is starting a new job, moving to a new city or ending a relationship turned sour.  Change provides us the opportunity to take the best from what we’ve learned from our experiences and move forward.  Unfortunately, the past has a way of resurfacing at unexpected times.  Today’s Fraud of the Day from maybe be one of those situations for an Iowa woman, whose ex-husband now faces a lengthy prison sentence for using her identity to file a fraudulent joint tax return.  (Sounds like she’s lucky to be rid of him.)

The article reports that the woman’s ex-husband was convicted of two counts of false claims for tax refunds, one count of uttering a fraudulent treasury check, one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in a Cedar Rapids federal court in late June.  The court found that the defendant filed two tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), claiming over $50,000 in each.  In one false claim, he filed a tax return as an amended joint tax return, where he used his ex-wife’s name and Social Security number, coupled with her forged signature.  The IRS responded to the claim, issuing a check in the amount of $69,000 in both his name and that of his ex-wife.  He then, of course, forged her signature again and deposited the funds in his bank account.  (A fraudster and a jerk.)

Now the defendant is awaiting sentencing.  He faces a minimum of two years in prison and a possible maximum sentence of 42 years imprisonment, a $1 million fine, $500 in special assessments and 13 years of supervised release following imprisonment.  (It sounds like the defendant is getting just what he deserves.)

So, in this case change is definitely good.  The ex-wife will be free of her ex-husband courtesy of the federal government – for a duration to be determined by the court – and the defendant is getting just what he deserves.  But, what about the taxpayers?  Here’s the question of the day:  what needs to change to prevent this type of fraud from happening again?

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