Another Week, More Tax-Related Identity Theft

Seven citizens from Zimbabwe opened Express Refund Center in Cincinnati in 2007. The business thrived, but not for those unfortunate souls who used the service. It seems that the operators allegedly decided that stealing their customers’ identities was a lot more lucrative than preparing tax returns. The seven are charged with various tax fraud and conspiracy charges.

Of the seven individuals charged in the case, one is in custody and one is expected to surrender to federal authorities next week. The five other individuals charged appear to have fled the country to Zimbabwe. The US does have an extradition treaty with Zimbabwe, so its possible the five will end up facing charges. The money that was lost in the case is likely lost for good, though.

As quoted in this story, Assistant US Attorney Tim Managan noted, “In later years, they didn’t operate a tax preparation service. They simply operated in wholesale theft.” There’s the issue of how do we stop identity theft. On that, I have a modest proposal (which will be in my next post).

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