News and Press Releases

Woman Used Personal Information from H & R Block Customers to get Tax Refund Loans

May 25, 2007

NATASHA NICOLE YOUNG, 22, of Renton, Washington was indicted this week by a federal grand jury in Seattle in connection with her scheme to use social security numbers she obtained as an employee of the tax preparation firm H & R Block, to commit Bank Fraud, Social Security Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. YOUNG was arraigned on the indictment yesterday in U.S. District Court in Seattle. YOUNG pleaded “not guilty.” She is scheduled for trial July 31, 2007, in front of U.S. District Judge James L. Robart.

According to the indictment, YOUNG was a tax professional at H & R Block, assigned to prepare customer tax returns. YOUNG also processed “instant money advance loans” – essentially loans based on a customer’s anticipated tax refund. These loans were delivered to customers in the form of a debit card which could be used at stores, or for cash from ATMs. YOUNG fraudulently prepared applications for these loans using customer social security numbers. YOUNG then took the debit cards and withdrew cash for her own purposes. In this way she illegally pocketed more than $25,000.

Bank Fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a one million dollar fine. Social Security Fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Aggravated Identity Theft is punishable by a mandatory minimum two years in prison, to be served consecutively to the sentence for the underlying offense.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Working Group on Identity Theft.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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