It’s bad enough that taxpayers have to contend with higher federal income tax rates and stiff penalties for underpayments. Apparently, there’s also a danger that an IRS employee will abscond with some of the tax money under false pretenses.
On January 21, Monica Nanette Hernandez, a former IRS data clerk, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft for stealing the identities of taxpayers and using the fake IDs to claim more than $1.7 million in tax refunds. She also was charged with pilfering more than $175,000 through fraudulent tax returns for herself.
Prosecutors say that Hernandez, forty-one, who was employed by the IRS on a part-time basis, stole sixty-eight tax returns from the IRS Service Center in Fresno, California, in April 2010 and used the information to claim refunds based on excessive federal tax withholdings. In addition, she filed three fraudulent returns for herself using the same basic gambit.
In addition to the one count of aggravated identity theft, Hernandez on Tuesday pleaded guilty to one count of filing false income tax returns and one count of wire fraud.
Despite reduced resources due to budget cutbacks, the IRS has vowed to ramp up efforts to uncover identity theft and bring offenders to justice.
Ken Berry, Esq., is a nationally known writer and editor specializing in tax, financial, and legal matters. During his long career, he has served as managing editor of a publisher of content-based marketing tools and vice president of an online continuing education company. As a freelance writer, Ken has authored thousands of articles for a...