FORMER TAX PREP EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR BANK FRAUD, AND AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT
Seattle Woman Used Personal Information from H & R Block Customers to get Tax Refund Loans
NATASHA NICOLE YOUNG, 22, of Renton, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 39 months in prison, 5 years of supervised release and $24,700 in restitution for Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. YOUNG used social security numbers she obtained as an employee of the tax preparation firm H & R Block, to commit more than $24,000 in bank fraud and identity theft. The theft of identity information by employees or insiders at financial institutions or related firms is a growing problem in Western Washington and across the country.
According to court records, 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 $24,000.
At the time of YOUNG’s arrest, a search of her apartment revealed five loaded guns, including an assault rifle and two stolen semi-automatic pistols, and crack cocaine within easy reach of her young children. YOUNG’s boyfriend, Jose Mario Nash, has been charged in connection with the drugs and guns and faces more than 10 years in prison when he is sentenced November 30, 2007.
In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi advised Judge James L. Robart that YOUNG had abused her position as an “insider” at H & R Block hurting people who were seeking help. “Many of these victims were low-income, and sought professional help in receiving earned-income tax refunds or other assistance,” Lombardi wrote to the court.
The case was investigated by Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), the Seattle Police Department’s Fraud and Forgery Unit, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) 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.