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Friday March 6, 2015

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Identity Theft and the U.S. Attorney General

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has made tax fraud identity theft a high priority. The IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit is available for phone contact by identity theft victims at 800-908-4490, ext. 245. The IRS Unit is available Monday through Friday from 7:00am to 7:00pm EST.

While there is no public report that he called the identity theft phone number, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. qualified to use the IRS service. He was the victim of an attempted tax return identity theft.

A common strategy for an identity thief is to obtain the target's name, date of birth, Social Security Number and other personal identification from public internet sites. The identity thief then attempts to file a tax return during January or February before the victim files. The identity thief often requests a tax refund that is loaded on a pre-paid debit card.

Defendant Yafait Tadesse was convicted in Atlanta and sentenced to one year and one day in jail for filing false and fraudulent tax returns. Tadesse obtained personal information on Attorney General Holder and nine other persons. He then proceeded to file false returns. Tadesse claimed that Holder was an employee of Walmart and requested a refund.

The IRS discovered the identity fraud and the refund was not made. After the successful prosecution of Tadesse, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates stated, "Identity thieves should be aware that we will continue to aggressively pursue them no matter who their victims happen to be."

The IRS Special Agent in charge of IRS criminal investigation was Veronica Hyman-Pillot. She stated, "Identity thieves have figured out that if they can obtain your Social Security Number they can file false tax returns with the IRS. It does not matter your political position, economic status, or social standing, you are susceptible to identity theft."

Editor's Note: Filing a false tax return claiming that the U.S. Attorney General is a Walmart employee was not a good plan.

Published March 14, 2014
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