Does Fraud Run In The Family?
Angela Staten, Sharon Staten, and Tawanda Staten are not your average sisters. They are part of a scheme that filed 2,000 fraudulent tax returns. All three of them have been charged with a total of 90 felony charges, Angela has just been sentenced to 14 years in jail. The charges are all for one thing, filing fraudulent tax returns.
These three attempted to steal $960,175 through filing fraudulent tax returns. Luckily, the Department of Revenue was able to block $725,785 by following the pattern that the Staten sisters left behind. They still have to pay back the other $202,520 that they stole. After arresting the sisters, the case turned up some additional information. Officers found personal information that included computer data, fingerprints, birthdays, names, and social security numbers.
Angela and Tawanda used identities of people that were in the prison system. Angela had accomplices in prison that provided her with other inmates names and information. From there she would then file fake tax returns in their name and try to rake in the money. Tawanda used fake wage and tax statements to file her fake tax returns. She also used fake rent certificates to receive homestead credit. Tawanda used mainly names of people that were incarcerated in the Mississippi prison system.
Sharon on the other hand had notebooks and papers that contained the personal information of 300 people. Besides this, they also found numerous prepaid debit cards, mail, bank statements, and invoices.
So much evidence was found on the three sisters, that they are going to jail for a long time. But in most cases many of the criminals that commit this type of crime are still out on the street. Identity theft is a growing crime that will affect many more people in the future than ever before. In this digital world, information is everywhere. Once out there, it’s impossible to get rid of.
Knowing if the people around you are really who they say they are can prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft and tax fraud. You can also do a background check of yourself to make sure that there is nothing funny going on that you don’t know about.
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