Two men were charged Friday afternoon in DeKalb with ID theft and tax fraud in a sting operation that ultimately will cover four states.
DeKalb Police Chief Steven Jackson said Timothy Benjamin Taylor, 41, of Dacula, Ga., and 35-year old Don Derrell Price of Jackson, have each been charged with 484 counts of ID theft and tax fraud in the ongoing case that so far has about $4 million allegedly being stolen from taxpayers.
Bonds for both men have been denied, according to Jackson, because Taylor and Price were considered extreme flight risks.
"This was a week-long investigation leading up to the sting Friday morning at a local, privately owned tax service business," said Jackson. "I can't say enough about the way our officers here and the agents with the IRS and FBI executed this case to this point. It was an excellent job by everyone."
The pair is alleged to have used fake W-2 forms to file income tax returns for hundreds of people. They allegedly had paperwork, that turned out to be fake, giving them power of attorney to act on behalf of their clients.
Jackson said the two were filing for tax refunds on behalf of numerous people, from whom they stole identities, and defrauding the government by claiming refunds. He said Friday the two men came to C & T Tax Service — located just 50 feet from the DeKalb Police Department — in the belief they were going to collect almost $1 million in tax refunds. Jackson said that is when agents from the two federal agencies and officers from his office converged on them.
"It was over in twenty seconds," said Jackson.
Jackson said a taxpayer in Birmingham, Ala., initially raised questions telling the owner of C & T Tax Service his tax return had been filed without his knowledge. Jackson said this was the beginning of the end for Taylor and Price.
"Maj. Charles Barnett took the first complaint and ran with it," said Jackson. "The more questions he asked the deeper he got into this. Eventually we asked the IRS and the FBI to assist us on this and they did a great job."
Jackson said this case will likely see more arrests and the scope of the frauds are believed to cross into four states — Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
Investigators believe the fraud has likely been going on for at least 10 years.