POSTED: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 4:14pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 7:20am
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — As the deadline to file your tax return is fast approaching the US Attorney's Office says three Brownsville women could be spending some serious time in jail for cheating the government and stealing the identity of dead citizens.
The US attorney's office says three female family members came up with a scheme that defrauded the government out of almost $750,000.
Prosecutors say the family obtained social security numbers and birth dates for deceased individuals through the internet and then filed both paper and electronic federal income tax returns using the identities of the dead.
The US Attorney's office says the females who pleaded guilty inside the federal courthouse in Brownsville filed 340 false claims totaling $763,000 dollars in filed false claims.
Daniel Cavazos is a tax professional who has been preparing tax returns with Cavazos Income Tax Office for the last 19 years. He says this tax scheme is one of the wildest he's heard.
“One of those that's up there, I have heard other stories, other schemes to defraud the government but this is one of them.” said Cavazos
Cavazos says while the three females were using personal information of deceased individuals for this tax scheme, he warns people filing their taxes to be cautious with their personal information.
"Something that is very typical is identity theft, we need to be careful securing our personal data. When you file for your taxes you have to disclose that to your preparer for your taxes to be accurately prepared, its important this time of the year, so choice someone with a good reputation, someone you trust, interview your prepare to see if they are qualified."said Cavazos.