IRS employee sentenced for identity theft

Atlanta IRS employee Missy A. Sledge found a new way to pick the pockets of civilians and the vaults of government: stealing the identities and refunds of tax filers.

“Sledge reviewed suspicious returns to protect the government from being victimized by fraud,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates Thursday. “Instead, she used her IRS access to victimize 60 taxpayers, and cost the government over $500,000 in losses.”

The 47-year-old Atlanta woman, who was sentenced to nearly five years in prison Thursday, and a ring of co-conspirators attempted to pilfer nearly $2.4 million through the scheme but investigators uncovered the fraud before the ring could cash in the total bonanza.

The scheme worked like this: ring members would file fraudulent tax returns using the stolen identities of real taxpayers. They would supply the Social Security numbers to Sledge so if she reviewed the files she would approve the fraudulent payment.

Meanwhile, Sledge, a 12-year veteran of the Internal Revenue Service, was scouring legitmate returns with large valid refunds and helping get those checks sent to addresses controlled by her co-conspirators instead of the taxpayer.

Sledge’s conduct continued until she was arrested at her desk at work on November 26, 2013, Yates said. She pleaded guilty Feb. 18.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten sentenced her to four years and nine months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $501,048.40.

Article source: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/the-worst-of-the-worst-irs-identity-thief/ngFYg/

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