DA says ID theft scheme cost US Treasury $10M


PITTSBURGH (AP) – A federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania says a massive ID theft and fake tax return scheme cost the U.S. Treasury an estimated $10 million.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton announced the indictments of five men on Wednesday. Hickton says the men sought $21 million in fraudulent tax refunds, and the IRS paid out about half of that.

Three of the people charged Wednesday are from New York, one is from Rhode Island, and one is from Tennessee.

The defendants are also accused of obtaining false driver’s licenses and Social Security cards, which were then used to open bank accounts, including at Widget Financial in Erie and PNC Bank in Pittsburgh.

The defendants allegedly spent some of the illegally obtained funds and sent some to Nigeria.

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