A former IRS employee was sentenced in federal court for stealing tax refunds.
Tamara R. Miller, 40, of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to two years and two months in federal prison without parole.
On Jan. 23, 2020, Miller pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of government funds. Miller specifically admitted to stealing refunds from two taxpayers, totaling $5,214.
Miller was employed by the IRS as a data transcriber at the Kansas City Service Center. As part of her duties, Miller handled individual income tax returns received by mail at the Kansas City Service Center.
Miller selected tax returns on which the “Refund” section did not show a routing number or account number for a direct deposit to a financial institution (indicating the taxpayer elected to have the refund paid by a U.S. Treasury check). Miller used taxpayers’ means of identification, including names and Social Security numbers, shown on their tax returns to apply for accounts at online banks that issued prepaid debit cards. If Miller succeeded in opening an online account with a taxpayer’s means of identification, she entered the routing number and account number for the fraudulently created account in the “Refund” section of the taxpayer’s Form 1040. Miller had access to the fraudulently created account; the taxpayer did not know the account existed.
As an alternative means of fraudulently altering taxpayers’ returns, Miller entered the routing and account numbers for an existing online account to which she had access in the “Refund” section of the Forms 1040, thereby falsely representing that the taxpayer elected to have the refund amount deposited directly to that account.
Miller caused the fraudulently altered Forms 1040 to be submitted and processed for payment of the refund amounts requested by the taxpayers. The refund amounts were subsequently deposited directly to accounts controlled by Miller and accessible to Miller.