Identity Crisis

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A lock with social security card and driver's license on a computer keyboard.

Typically, when a fraudster is guilty of committing one crime, it’s almost a sure thing that they’re guilty of committing multiple. This is the case for one fraudster from Oregon who managed to rack up a staggering amount of charges against her for attempting to defraud her employer and the Internal Revenue Service.

Anndrea Jacobs of La Grande, Oregon pleaded guilty to filing a false personal income tax return, falsely impersonating an IRS employee, aggravated identity theft, and bank fraud. These charges serve as a joint resolution for two criminal cases pending against her. (In other words, she’s in deep trouble.)

Jacobs formerly worked as the office manager and bookkeeper for a medical practice from January 2011 until she was terminated in December 2015. Jacobs was fired when it was discovered she was writing business checks to herself and falsifying financial records to hide her transgressions. (The business owner unfortunately had a lot of trust in the wrong person. It’s not always easy to spot a fraudster in sheep’s clothing.)

The fraudulent financial records Jacobs created would exaggerate expenses and tax payments for the business. She additionally created false tax statements with total balances of zero to present to the medical practice’s owner. (Not sure who would actually believe that they didn’t owe the federal government taxes.) Jacobs then convinced the owner to let her handle the IRS tax collection by granting her limited power of attorney. (She must have been very persuasive.) 

This limited power of attorney allowed Jacobs to open a business bank account in the name of the owner without his knowledge. (That’s just plain scary.) She used this account to deposit business checks into her own personal accounts which were originally intended for the Oregon Department of Revenue. This scheme was furthered by creating a fictional identity and impersonating an IRS Taxpayer Advocate. (Jacobs just kept digging herself deeper and deeper into a hole. You’ve got to know when it’s time to give up the shenanigans and admit your wrongdoings.)  

A new phone number and voicemail account were set up by Jacobs so she could pose as an IRS employee by the name of Linda Gibson and coordinate with the medical practice owner. Jacobs pretended to help the medical owner with his IRS tax collection issues while posing as Linda. (The poor owner had the wool pulled over his eyes for sure.) The identity theft scheme was eventually uncovered as was the fact Jacobs used the embezzled money to pay her personal credit card bills and other expenses.

A federal grand jury indicted Jacobs on wire fraud, filing false tax returns, assisting the preparation of false tax returns, falsely impersonating an employee of the U.S., and aggravated identity theft. (Jacobs did not learn her lesson as she committed another bank fraud while awaiting trial which led to her pretrial release being revoked.)  

Jacob’s sentencing will occur on December 7, 2020. As part of a plea deal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will recommend a four-year prison sentence followed by five years of supervised release and restitution.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Eastern Oregon Medical Practice Employee Pleads Guilty to Tax Crimes, Bank Fraud,” on September 1, 2020.

PORTLAND, Ore.—The former office manager and bookkeeper for a La Grande, Oregon medical practice pleaded guilty today for devising a scheme to defraud her employer, announced U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.

Anndrea D. Jacobs, 49, pleaded guilty to filing a false personal income tax return, falsely impersonating an IRS employee, aggravated identity theft, and bank fraud as a joint resolution for two criminal cases.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.