When Even IRS Employees Are Tempted to Commit Identity Theft…

…you know there’s a huge problem. Especially given that the employee should realize that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) does look at alleged criminal activities by IRS employees. Yet it happens.

Take Kenneth Goheen of Austin. Mr. Goheen worked in the IRS Austin Service Center. He apparently looked at applications for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) and used those applications to file more than 50 fraudulent returns. He pocketed over $120,000 while committing his crimes. Luckily, TIGTA and IRS Criminal Investigation found out about his malfeasance.

As noted in the Department of Justice press release,

“Goheen’s conduct is doubly offensive. He not only stole money from the government, but he used his unique position in the government—a position of trust—to wrongfully enrich himself,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.

Mr. Goheen was sentenced to two years plus one day at ClubFed, must forfeit $15,442 seized from his bank account, and must make restitution of $104,292.

While it’s well and good that TIGTA and IRS Criminal Investigation caught Mr. Goheen, consider the question why did Mr. Goheen commit his crimes? Obviously he thought he’d get away with it–and that’s disturbing. No, I suspect that most criminals think they’ll get away with their crimes. Here, though, Mr. Goheen should be aware of the IRS efforts (or lack thereof) in fighting identity theft. Clearly, he felt that that the IRS efforts weren’t particularly meaningful. And that’s what bothers me here.

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