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Scam artist sent to prison

Scam artist sent to prison

Unlike most people, Debra Coleman loved filling out tax forms.

According to a federal investigation, she was stealing several people’s social security numbers and filing fake W2's. The federal indightment says the refunds totaled more than a million dollars.

This week, Coleman was sentenced to just over four years in federal prison.

"This sends a great message that we're out there and we're going to activly pursue identitty thieves and we're going to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law," IRS Special Agent Mike Lemoine tells 1200 WOAI news.

He says E-filing has made it easier for scam artists to try and funnel false tax returns to a debit account.  The problem?  There's an electronic trail.

"These cases have become a high priority for our criminal investigation division, in addressing these identity fraud schemes," Lemoine adds.

Earlier this year, IRS agents in San Antonio busted Daniel Lopez for allegedly taking part in a similar scam.

According to court papers, obtained by 1200 WOAI news, Lopez would reportedly steal people's identities, open bank accounts, and filed returns to collect $150,000.

One of his victims was a veteran that he met at a rehab facility.

 

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