The Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration said this week that three current and former IRS employees have been caught trying to steal money as taxpayers try to pay off their tax debts.
In one case, former Missouri IRS employee Demetria Brown was sentenced in February after pleading guilty to wire fraud and identity theft.
Her scheme was to obtain people's personal information, like Social Security Numbers and dates of birth, to file fraudulent federal and state tax returns.
"Using a false identity, Brown established an account with an Internet service provider and an email address in order to submit these false returns," the inspector general said. She also opened bank accounts in their names in five different states to collect the money over a four-year period.
Using that scheme, Brown took about $326,000 from the IRS. She was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and also had to return the money.
In another case, Alabama IRS worker Nakeisha Hall pled guilty to similar charges in February. Hall accessed thousands of accounts and filed hundreds of returns claiming inflated refunds, and had those funds put on debit cards.
In this way, Hall and her conspirators defrauded the government of $550,000. She is set to be sentenced in June, and could face 32 years in prison.
A third case involves Creshika Wise, an Atlanta IRS worker who was arrested in January. Wise audited a couple who owed $758,846 in taxes, but she set up a scheme to ensure that most of this payment would go to her by tricking the IRS into thinking less was owed.
"Wise created a fictitious IRS Form 4549, Income Tax Examination Changes, for the taxpayers and placed the fictitious form in the IRS's files," the inspector general said. "The fictitious Form 4549 showed a balance due of only $282,363 rather than the $758,846 already agreed upon. Wise also forged the signature of the taxpayers' CPA on the fictitious form."