LITHONIA WOMAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR COMPUTER FRAUD USING IRS COMPUTERS
June 9, 2011
Griffin Worked for the IRS and Used IRS Computers to Fraudulently Obtain First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credits for Friends and Relatives
ATLANTA, GA - CATHERINE GRIFFIN, 46, of Lithonia, Georgia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. to federal prison for computer fraud. GRIFFIN accessed confidential information on government computers for private financial gain, relating to a scheme to fraudulently obtain “First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credits” for friends and relatives who were not eligible to receive the credits and had not purchased homes during the eligible time period.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, “This temporary employee of the IRS was not really working for the government, but working for herself, personally profiting after electronically handing out tax credits. Many of the citizens of our community who really do deserve the First Time Buyer Tax Credit should know that this kind of criminal scheme does not pay, and this defendant ultimately did not profit from helping her own friends and relatives.”
“The First-Time Homebuyer Credit was created to help stimulate the weak housing market through home purchases, not as a ‘friends and family’ plan to help IRS employees,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “TIGTA vigorously investigates allegations of wrongdoing by IRS employees and makes sure that those who are found to be involved in fraudulent activity are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
GRIFFIN was sentenced to 9 months in prison to be followed by 2 years of supervised release. GRIFFIN was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $40,516. GRIFFIN pleaded guilty to the charge of computer fraud on March 24, 2011.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From approximately July 2009 to November 2009, GRIFFIN worked as a seasonal employee for the IRS in Chamblee, Georgia, processing amended tax returns filed by taxpayers. In her capacity as an IRS employee, GRIFFIN had access to the IRS computer system. The evidence showed that GRIFFIN exceeded her authorized access of the IRS computer system to alter taxpayer information for approximately 4 individuals. In exchange for fraudulently altering these taxpayers’ information, GRIFFIN received payments of $2,000.
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This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
Assistant United States Attorney Bernita B. Malloy prosecuted the case.For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan