Tax fraud is growing, and thieves are everywhere. The successful ones probably choose their victims a little more carefully than these two.
According to federal prosecutors, 21 year old Yafait Tadesse and his co-defendant Eyaso Abebe ran a scheme to get the names and social security numbers of unsuspecting victims from various websites and then used the info on false tax returns that claimed fraudulent refunds.
The tax returns falsely claimed the victims earned similar wage and withholding amounts and worked at Wal-Mart. One of the tax returns filed by Tadesse and Abebe used the name, social security number, and date of birth of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The returns all claimed fraudulent refunds that were to be loaded onto pre-paid debit cards. These pre-paid debit cards listed Tadesse’s apartment
complex in Carrollton, GA as the mailing address.
While the IRS stopped several of the false returns from being fully processed, several fraudulent refunds were directed onto prepaid debit cards. Surveillance videos showed that Tadesse used one of these prepaid cards at stores in Carrollton.
The defendants got their victims’ information from publicly available websites that publish the names, social security numbers, and other personally identifying information of people who are unaware.
Other individuals targeted in this scheme were not government officials and were located across the United States.
Tadesse pleaded guilty in November to theft of government funds. He was sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay $4,014 in restitution to the IRS and must forfeit his interest in the computers that were used to carry out the scheme.
Abebe, pleaded guilty in October to theft of government funds and he awaits sentencing.