2 Cobb men accused of stealing IDs, filing fake tax returns - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

2 Cobb men accused of stealing IDs, filing fake tax returns

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Two Cobb County men are in custody after being accused of stealing more than $130,000 from taxpayers.

Police say Justin Harrison and Hakeem Hopkins stole more than 130 people's identities from around the country. They are using of using those identities to file fraudulent tax refunds.

"They're stealing money from taxpayers here in Georgia. This is money that comes right from the state treasury. It's no different than somebody walking down to the state treasurer with a gun and taking money that way," said Georgia Revenue Commissioner Doug MacGinnitie.

Authorities told FOX 5 that the investigation spanned more than a year dating back to the 2011 tax filing season.

"It often consisted no more than somebody who gets illicit names and social security numbers and then files multiple fraudulent returns, and they'll file 100 of them and hope only 50 of them go through," said MacGinnitie.

All 132 checks, averaging about $1,000 each, were mailed to the same Marietta address,  an apartment at the Ashford Retreat Apartment Homes on Windy Hill Road. Authorities say that that was one of the red flags.

"We see a lot of this. And to give you some context, last calendar year in 2012, the department blocked 160,000 returns , totaling just shy of $100 million of returns that we think were fraudulent. So this is a huge problem in this state," said MacGinnitie.

The commissioner says that his wife was a victim of identity theft a few years ago.

"They stole her identity, had her social security number, her name, made up some information on a tax return, filed it, and were able to steal money from the state treasury that way," said MacGinnitie.

The commissioner said that the department has new measures now in place to alert them of possible fraud.

"It's a never-ending battle, really," said MacGinnitie.

Harrison is facing first-degree forgery charges. Hakeem Hopkins is being held for ID fraud. More charges are pending, authorities said.

The case will now go to the attorney general's office.

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