Details in Statesboro ID Theft Ring Unfold - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Details in Statesboro ID Theft Ring Unfold

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STATESBORO, GA -

A developing story out of Statesboro tonight; twenty-three people face charges in connection with an identity theft and tax fraud scheme.

Authorities with the FBI, Statesboro Police and the IRS believe those involved took names, birthdays, and social security numbers from medical records and used them to submit phony tax returns.

Out of the 23 people who are charged in connection with this alleged scheme--twelve face federal charges and eleven face state charges.

The majority of the suspects are from Georgia; nineteen are residents of Statesboro.

Charges include conspiracy, misusing medical records and filing fraudulent tax returns.

 So just how did this happen? 

We all want answers to keep ourselves safe, so we went right to the man in charge, U.S. Attorney for Georgia's Southern District, Ed Tarver.

He tells News 3 these sorts of tax crimes are sweeping the nation, and what makes this case so unnerving is that there is nothing these victims could have done to prevent it.

All of their information was taken from doctor's offices, and the three that are believed to be the ringleaders, all had friends or family members working from the inside. 

Tarver tells us the fraud charges span back to offenses from 2011.

"The primary trigger is when multiple returns are filed by the same tax payer. Many times these individuals would use the identities that they have stolen from others-- file returns--- and then when the actual tax payer would file their return, they would receive notice from the IRS that that return had already been filed and paid."

 Police searched dozens of homes around Statesboro for computers and anything else that could lead to more information.

 Taver says he's not surprised, as technology becomes more advanced, so does fraud. 

"This is a conspiracy that is being done all across the country. We first got indication that it was happening down in Florida, and it was happening in large volume of fraudulent refunds. Many tax returns had been filed, and it's just a matter of time before it worked its way up to Georgia.  

The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible.  In the mean time, suspects are being held in the Bulloch County Jail. 

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