Tax Refund Fraud Like ‘Crack Cocaine’ for Criminals, U.S. Attorney Says

Friday, February 8th, 2013 @ 6:19PM

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February 6, 2013

The filing of fraudulent tax returns by money-hungry identity thieves is spreading through South Florida “like a virus” and six recent cases involving 14 defendants highlight that grim reality, federal prosecutors say.

Announced on Tuesday evening, the cases reflect Florida’s dubious distinction as the identity theft capital of the United States, according to federal data, and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area’s status as the worst urban center for identity theft in the country.

The cases include a scheduler at a Boca Raton hospital, Shalamar Major, who is accused of stealing patient data and giving it to a friend, Tanisha Wright.

Wright then filed 57 fraudulent tax returns worth $306,720 and the pair split the proceeds, which were loaded on to pre-paid debit card, according to an indictment filed in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

The other cases include a Miami man, Fednol Pierre, 34, who allegedly collected more than $52,000 in fraudulent tax returns. Jeanson Pata, 31, of West Palm Beach, is also accused in that case. Jahed Movlayazdanpahi, 29, of Miramar, is also a defendant in one of the cases.

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