SMYRNA, Ga. -- Two Smyrna men have been arrested for filing 132 fraudulent tax returns with the state. They stole more than $134,000 dollars in refunds on those returns.
"They stole people's names and identity's and then had them all sent to an address where they cashed the checks and spent the money," State Revenue Commissioner Douglas MacGinnitie said.
Justin James Harrison, 29, is charged with Forgery, 1st Degree. Hakeem Iziah Hopkins, 24, is charged with Identity Theft Fraud. Investigators are trying to find out how the two obtained the stolen ID's. "We often see they either bought them on line illegally or they have a source in some sort of office where Social Security records are kept," MacGinnitie said.
Harrison and Hopkins are accused of filing fraudulent Georgia tax returns in 2011 and having return checks from the Georgia Department of Revenue sent to their Smyrna apartment.
MacGinnitie said the state has gotten much better at catching tax fraud. "I wish I could tell you we stop every one before it goes out but we don't," he said.
Last year MacGinnitie said the Department of Revenue stopped over 158,000 fraudulent returns and stopped nearly $99 million dollars from being paid out in fraudulent returns.
"What we tell people is do whatever you can to protect your social security number and then obviously monitor activity on your credit accounts, your bank accounts, other places where people might be trying to access that information," he said.
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