Postal worker convicted in massive stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme

Social Security suspended a debt collection program last spring in which thousands of people had their tax refunds seized to recoup overpayments. (AP)

The final person has been convicted in an eight-defendant conspiracy in which fraudulent tax returns were filed using identification information that was stolen and used without lawful authority, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Edward Dwayne Vallier, 42, of Houston, entered his guilty plea to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud this morning.

According to court records, Vallier was a U.S. Postal Service carrier in Houston that was recruited by co-conspirator Jalan Willingham, 35, of Houston, in October 2012, in order to aid and abet the conspirators in carrying out their scheme. Vallier was to provide fictitious addresses on his postal route where the false returns would be mailed. The tax refunds generated by the fraudulent returns were often deposited onto reloadable debit cards and mailed to addresses under Vallier's control. He would then retrieve the debit cards with the fraudulent returns on them from his route and turn it over to the co-conspirators.

From 2010 through 2013, the co-conspirators used the stolen personal identifying information to file thousands of fraudulent tax returns claiming more than $12 million in refunds. According to IRS records, the National Treasury paid out more than over $6 million before the scheme was discovered.

Read more from the West University Examiner, a Houston Community Newspaper partner.
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personal financebusinesspostal servicetheftidentity thefttaxesrefundfraudHouston Community NewspapersHouston