Harris Co. Deputies: Two wanted in tax fraud ring - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Harris Co. Deputies: Two wanted in tax fraud ring

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HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. -

Harris County Authorities are asking for your help finding two Columbus people wanted for allegedly stealing millions in tax dollars.

Authorities say Derek Dickey and Shade’ Bakare are both wanted for racketeering and identity fraud.

Investigators say the warrants stem from an IRS raid in March at Priority Tax Service in Cataula. Deputies say the IRS received a tip that the business was filing illegal tax returns. The owner, Melissa Lowe and Marcus Calhoun face identity fraud and drug charges.

Investigators then searched Piggy Bank Enterprises on 13th Street in Columbus and arrested Bianca Lowe and Danielle Wallace.

According to a news release from Harris County deputies, “This type of identity fraud has different players at different levels.

To get the fraud started someone has to apply with the IRS and obtain something called an EFIN NUMBER. This number is assigned to an individual by the IRS for the specific purpose of filing income tax returns. All tax preparers have an EFIN number.

Many times those engaged in this Racketeering crime will pay people to obtain a number for them, and will also operate under other EFIN numbers stolen or otherwise obtained. The person knowingly and willingly allowing others to participate in the crime of identity fraud with their EFIN number is considered a party to the crime and thus part of the conspiracy.

The EFIN number is assigned to an individual and in the state of Ga this EFIN number is part of the personal identifying information included in the identity fraud statute. This number is needed to file any kind of tax return and is often a large part of the identity fraud process.

One suspect will obtain a list of potential identity fraud victims. This list will include the name date of birth and social security number. This list of names and identities can come from a variety of sources such as day worker employee lists, jail inmate lists, past tax clients and many other forms. Usually there is an inside source and this person providing this type of guarded information is a part of the conspiracy. This suspect is usually paid for the list of names.

Once this list is obtained, unknown to the victim someone then prepares a fraudulent W2 in the names of the victims.

To do this the suspects also needs the employer identification number found on most W2 forms. This is also a form of identity fraud when the tax numbers of unsuspecting companies are used to generate a fraudulent W2 form.

Another suspect will then prepare a tax return with this fraudulent W2 form and run the numbers so as to claim false dependents and other ways so that the tax return refund is for thousands of dollars, usually between $3,000.00 and $9,000.00.

This money is divided up among the conspirators. Others in the conspiracy will then cash the fraudulent tax checks and others will have the money directly deposited.

This type of identity fraud causes loads of red tape and problems for the victim. Evidence of this type has been recovered during the investigation.”

If you have any information about Derek Dickey or Shade’ Bakare- you're asked to call the Harris County Sheriff's Office at 706 628-4211.

Sarah Panko

Sarah is the anchor/ producer for News Three First Edition at 5/4 central time. She also brings you the latest Consumer Reports on the Nightwatch at 11/10 central. More>>

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