More suspects arrested in ongoing ID tax fraud case - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

More suspects arrested in ongoing ID tax fraud case

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STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) -

Federal agents arrested more suspects in an ongoing ID tax fraud case in Bulloch and surrounding counties.

Investigators told WTOC the some suspects used their jobs in doctors offices and other locations to steal patients' personal information and use it for false tax returns or sold the info for other suspects to do the same thing.

Meanwhile, other suspects stand accused of knowingly cashing refund checks from falsified tax returns based on the stolen identities.

College student Lindsey Hall still remembers when she discovered she'd been one of the victims. She needed tax documents from the IRS for school paperwork and discovered someone had filed a tax return in her name.

"It was scary and it made me mad," she said. "I wasn't buying stuff off the internet and putting my information out there. It happened from some place I should have been able to trust."

Investigators urge consumers to guard their personal info as much as possible, monitor credit reports, bank statements and more. However, they acknowledge some identity theft cases go beyond what anyone could expect.

"This case was not a one size fits all kind of identity theft," said Chief Deputy Jared Akins of the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office. "It came from a variety of sources … it manifested itself in a variety of different ways."

Akins does urge anyone who spots a problem with their bank account or credit card to file a report immediately and contact credit bureaus to stop further problems and repair whatever has happened.

Lindsey said she's finally gotten her identity back, as far as she can tell so far.

"I haven't tried to buy a house or anything like that. It could impact them in the future for all I know," she noted.

This is part of an ongoing, three-year investigation.

Some of the early suspects have already been prosecuted and are serving federal jail time. The suspects arrested in this phase of the case will appear in federal court Wednesday for a bond hearing.

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