I Dub Thee


Royalty has a special place in our world. The word itself conjures up a sense of respect and awe. But, leave it up to a potential fraudster to take a respectable word and turn it sour. Today’s Fraud of the Day from a Tampa Bay Online article describes how two individuals have been indicted for fraud, just two days after a woman ”dubbed the ‘first lady’ of tax-refund fraud” was indicted on 57 counts of tax refund fraud.

Florida has seen a spike in fraud within the past decade, and authorities are responding with zero tolerance of these activities. Recent investigations led to the arrest of several suspects accused of a tax refund scheme, stemming from an arrest nearly a month ago. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) criminal investigators discovered an alleged fraud scheme at a local credit union where the woman known as the ‘first-lady’ of fraud was formerly employed as a teller. According to the article, investigators believe she is the brains behind the scam, and accuse her of cashing fraudulent tax refund checks from her friend. (People find a bit of power, and then find a million ways to misuse it.)<i? Authorities say that records show the woman cashed around $281,000 for her friend, and in return she allegedly was given $25,000.

While the IRS believes to have found the source of cashing the fraudulent checks, they are concerned with finding the missing piece of the puzzle – the individual responsible for obtaining personal identification information used on fraudulent tax refund applications. (Crimes like these are often two fold – one side of the crime cannot function without the other.)<i? Investigators believe that the leaked personal information came from a business located in Fort Lauderdale, responsible for ambulance billing. (Ambulance billing is an up and coming outlet for fraudsters stealing personal identification.) A spokesperson from the company revealed that 17 states were affected in the data breach, but did not have a number on the amount of patients affected.

In the most proper and royal accent I can replicate, ”I dub thee accused lady fraudster.’? May you be properly tried in court for all alleged crimes, remaining innocent until proven guilty. And, may we finally start using public records databases to authenticate and verify identities of individuals requesting tax refunds.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Pair Charged in Tax-Refund Fraud Case,” written by Elaine Silvestrini and published by Tampa Bay Online on December 21, 2012.

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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.