A financial technician who worked in a Boone County, Ky., office of the Internal Revenue Service has been charged with multiple crimes relating to her unauthorized access of an IRS computer to obtain personal information about taxpayers.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky said Friday that on July 18, 2013, a federal grand jury returned a sealed indictment against Joy Fox, 32, of Independence, Ky. The indictment, which was unsealed Friday, charges Fox with eight counts of intentionally exceeding her authorized access to an IRS computer, for the purpose of improperly obtaining personal identifying information of taxpayers. She was also charged with three counts of mail fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft in relation to the mail fraud.
According to the indictment, another individual, Patrick Sharpe, 23, of Tallahassee, Fla., was charged as a co-defendant in the case. Sharpe and Fox allegedly used the personal identifying information of taxpayers to obtain online prepaid debit cards, in taxpayers’ names, and then attempted to fund the cards using the taxpayers’ Social Security benefits. Once the cards were approved, the defendants caused the cards to be mailed to addresses in Kentucky. Fox and Sharpe are also charged with conspiracy to file a false claim for a tax refund.
Fox appeared in court Friday, while Sharpe is scheduled to appear on August 14, 2013. The court has scheduled trial for Sep. 23, 2013.
The mail fraud charges carry up to 20 years’ imprisonment. The exceeding authorized access charges carry a maximum of five years’ imprisonment. The aggravated identity theft charges carry two years’ imprisonment, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed. The filing a false claim for refund charge carries a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. The defendants could also be fined a maximum of $250,000. However, any sentence imposed would come after the court considers the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, James D. Robnett, special agent in charge at the IRS Criminal Investigations Division in Tampa, Fla., and special agent in charge Dwaine Brinson of the Treasury Inspector General Tax Administration’s Chicago Field Division, jointly announced the indictment.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by agents of the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division in Tallahassee, Fla., the Leon County Sheriff’s Office in Tallahassee and agents of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General Tax Administration in Covington, Ky. The indictment was presented to the grand jury by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Voorhees.