Friday, April 06, 2007

Former IRS employee charged with a different type of refund fraud

With the deadline to file our taxes almost upon us, the term refund fraud, normally is associated with filing a fraudulent tax refund. A former IRS employee, Robert Dooley has been charged a different type of refund fraud (retail). The stated losses in this case were $330,000.

Dooley allegedly stole merchandise and refunded it in nine states (he gets around), using his IRS identification to intimidate (my best guess) Home Depot employees.

Many retailers allow returns without a receipt if identification is presented. The practice of maintaining this information in data bases, which might be hacked has been a concern with privacy advocates, recently.

I examined this issue in a recent post on what some retailers are doing to protect themselves without data mining information (SIRAS technology), here.

Refund fraud is estimated to cost retailers $16 billion a year based on a study conducted by Dr. Richard Hollinger at the University of Florida.

In many instances, Dooley received gift cards, which retail crooks often turn into cash, using a variety of methods.

Reuters story on this matter, here.

Their article suggests that Dooley would pick up the merchandise and head directly to the return counter. This is a common way retail criminals perform a fraudulent refund.

This isn't the first time in recent history a civil service type was involved in this activity. A little over a year ago, I did a post on a former Bush advisor doing fraudulent refunds:

Former Bush Advisor Arrested on Shoplifting Allegations

And civil servants aren't the only public figures that have been caught shoplifting.

(Winona Ryder photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

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