Tampa Law Enforcement off to a fast start fighting tax fraud - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Law Enforcement off to a fast start fighting tax fraud

Posted: Updated:

Two weeks after the start of the new tax filing season, local law enforcement say they're busy with new investigations and the old pattern of tax refund fraud.

"We're seeing the same things we've been seeing over the past couple years, the folks who have ledgers, cards the names, social security numbers, date of births," said Sgt. Pat Kennedy, who heads up a fraud unit at the Tampa Police Dept.

Kennedy says it appears fraudsters are again able to get refund money from fake tax returns loaded onto debit cards.

There have been some surprises in the season so far – including an investigation sparked in Riverview on Monday after a first grader showed up at school with a plastic bag containing 52 debit cards in other people's names. School officials contacted the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which conducted a search warrant at the girl's home about five hours later, removing computers and high-end items suspected of being purchased with stolen money.

The quick response is indicative of how investigators will operate this year, said Corp. Bruce Crumpler, who leads the tax fraud investigations at the sheriff's office.

"No longer are those days (of) four and five and six days or a week or two months down the road and we're going to knock on your door," Crumpler said. "This was five hours later and we were in someone's house saying, ‘That stuff, what you have is unlawful items' and we'll take it."

No one has been charged in connection with the Riverview search but authorities are continuing their investigation.

Just weeks into the new season, the tax refund fraud crime is again frustrating victims whose identities were used to file fake tax returns.

St. Petersburg resident Carlida Wright said she and her husband filed early this year to avoid the identity theft problem, but were informed by their tax preparer that their filing didn't go through.

 "Someone beat us," Wright said. "The same day we file, someone went earlier that day to file the same day."

  • NewsMore>>

  • Tampa school's TIE Tuesday teaches more than proper attire

    Tampa school's TIE Tuesday teaches more than proper attire

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:24 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:24:58 GMT
    Sebastian Scott, who is in 5th grade, usually wears a tie only once a week.
    Sebastian Scott, who is in 5th grade, usually wears a tie only once a week.
  • 2 in hospital after argument, stabbing in Clearwater

    2 in hospital after argument, stabbing in Clearwater

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:04 AM EDT2014-09-16 10:04:59 GMT
    A man and a woman are both at a hospital early Tuesday morning after an argument they had at the Regal Hotel in Clearwater, according to Clearwater Police.
    A man and a woman are both at a hospital early Tuesday morning after an argument they had at the Regal Hotel in Clearwater, according to Clearwater Police.
  • Adam Matos charged with 4 counts of murder in Hudson homicides

    Adam Matos charged with 4 counts of murder in Hudson homicides

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 3:38 AM EDT2014-09-16 07:38:38 GMT
    Adam Matos has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend and her parents in Hudson.
    Adam Matos has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend, her new boyfriend and her parents in Hudson.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.