A former Internal Revenue Service employee has been sentenced to 105 months in prison and ordered to pay $30,649 in restitution after pleading guilty to identity theft and theft of government property.

Thomas W. Richardson was sentenced Thursday to nearly nine years in prison by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle in Dallas. In handing down the sentence, the judge noted that Richardson was a former IRS employee who used his inside knowledge of IRS operations to commit his crime.

Richardson had pleaded guilty last August to one count of theft of government property and one count of aggravated identity theft. He admitted that from April 15-17, 2006, around the deadline for filing tax returns, he filed or caused to be filed 29 fraudulent 2005 individual income tax returns. Each federal income tax return claimed a refund of between $215,801 and $473,832. Richardson admitted that the refunds claimed by all 29 tax returns totaled $7,922,657. 

He further admitted that each tax return was filed claiming the married filing jointly election and listed two taxpayers, husband and wife. In each case, the Social Security number reported on the tax returns was assigned to individuals and in most cases, the names on the tax returns matched the names of the individuals to whom the Social Security numbers were assigned. 

Richardson admitted that the tax returns were prepared without the authorization of the 58 taxpayers listed on the tax returns. All of the returns directed the IRS to pay the money to one of Richardson’s bank accounts.  

The IRS has been cracking down on identity thieves after coming under pressure from Congress and the National Taxpayer Advocate, installing extra filters in its processing systems that in some cases have led to tax refund delays (see IRS Steps up Efforts to Combat Identity Theft and IRS Fraud Detection System Leads to Refund Delays).

In Richardson’s case, the IRS paid out seven refunds totaling $1,865,401 between May 12, 2006 and May 19, 2006. All but $30,649 has been recouped by the IRS.

Judge Boyle ordered Richardson to report to prison on March 6.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access