We all feel a little stressed, confused and, yes, even ripped off each year around tax time. It’s why we hire professional tax preparers: To expertly navigate the labyrinth of tax codes and paperwork and get us the best possible returns–or at least limit the amount we owe federal and state governments. However, we don’t expect to be ripped off by the very people we entrust with our sensitive tax and personal information.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to a 63-year-old Daly City resident after a family friend suggested she hire Brian Jeffers to handle her 2013 federal and state tax returns, according to a press release from the Daly City Police Department. The release states that Jeffers, a 43-year-old freelance tax preparer living in Half Moon Bay, swindled the victim out of a whopping $26,873 return!
“She gave her paperwork to Jeffers in early April,” said Sgt. Harold Rolfes of the Daly City Police Department. “When she tried to get a loan through her bank in July, the bank realized there was a problem.”
The woman attempted to contact Jeffers numerous times, but her calls went unanswered, according to police. The Internal Revenue Service got involved. The IRS and the bank discovered that Jeffers had filed the woman’s return, but he switched the return address to his own, forged the woman’s signature on the return check and deposited the check into his own account.
The IRS and the bank turned their evidence over to Daly City Police detectives, who last Thursday tracked Jeffers to his place of employment in Half Moon Bay. Jeffers was arrested without incident and charged with grand theft, forgery and unlawful use of willfully obtained personal identifying information.
Come April, you might want to consider doing your own tax return.