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Manhattan prosecutors have indicted 12 people believed to be involved in a tax refund scheme. The group, led by Petr Murmylyuk, is accused of using more than 300 stolen identities to fraudulently collect tax refunds.
To do this, Murmylyuk launched a fake job placement website at www.jobcentral2.net. The site advertised itself as "sponsored by the government and intended for people with low income." Once individuals submitted personal identifying information, Murmylyuk would file false tax returns on their behalf.
Because most of these individuals were unemployed, the IRS had no reason to believe the returns were part of a tax refund scheme, reports the Wall Street Journal. Petr Murmylyuk also cleverly recruited 11 students from Kazakhstan to open bank accounts in which the funds were electronically deposited.
He now faces up to 15 years in prison on state charges of fraud, money laundering, grand larceny, identity theft and computer trespass.
The story does not end here. Earlier this week, Murmylyuk, also known as Dmitry Tokar, was criminally charged by federal prosecutors in New Jersey. He and his cohorts are accused of hacking into online brokerage accounts and making fraudulent trades. They also transferred profits into fake bank accounts.
These charges carry another 5 years, and will likely be served consecutively if he is convicted of both the federal and state charges.
These sorts of crimes, particularly the tax refund scheme, are running rampant this tax year. So be careful and be on the lookout. Also, don't share your Social Security Number with a job site without researching the site first.