If you’re trying to hide fraudulent activity, it would be smart not to do anything out of the ordinary to raise suspicions. An article in the Montgomery Advertiser details the story of two former corrections officers who tricked the Internal Revenue Service into issuing approximately $176,000 in improper tax refunds. One of the fraudsters used his take from the scheme to “trick out” his SUV with a new paint job and rims and buy a BMW. (Perhaps his coworkers or neighbors became suspicious when they saw the new improvements and the luxury vehicle.)
The story details that the two co-conspirators were shift clerks at the state prison. This position gave the two men access to every inmate’s personal identification information. (That’s pretty handy if you are looking to commit fraud.) The inmates’ identities were used to file more than 180 false tax returns claiming more than $750,000 in tax refunds. Investigators were able to link the fraud to the two men via Internet Protocol (IP) addresses used in filing the online tax returns.
The fraudulent refunds were mailed to addresses associated with the two former clerks. According to court records, some of the checks were cashed by one of the men’s uncles and a local check casher.
Both men were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The man with the two vehicles was convicted of seven counts of wire fraud and seven counts of aggravated identity theft, while the other man was convicted of one count of aggravated identity theft. They were sentenced to 10 years and seven years in prison, respectively and were ordered to pay $176,114 in restitution.
In this case it looks like these two tricksters fell victim to their own deception. There will be no more tricks from these two as they spend the foreseeable future behind bars. (Who knows, maybe someone will steal their identity while in prison and they’ll get a taste of their own trickery.)