WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – More than two dozen customers who went to H&R Block for tax-preparation help had their personal information stolen as part of an identity theft scam, according to a federal complaint.
Four suspects allegedly used the information to divert the victims' mail — including tax refunds — and to set up credit card accounts for their own "shopping sprees," the complaint said.
One of the suspects, Ivy Johnson of New Rochelle, worked at a Block office in White Plains at prime tax-return season, between December 2000 and April 2001. She allegedly stole names, addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of birth from at least 27 customers.
Johnson and the other suspects, LaTasha Edwards-Hamlett and Catherine Pointer of New Rochelle and Charles Griffin of Mount Vernon, allegedly used the information to open credit card accounts and divert tax checks of up to $8,000.
David Ng, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, said H&R Block did not willingly cooperate with the investigation. "We had to get subpoenas," he told The Journal News.
Block spokeswoman Denise Sposato would not comment, saying, "We don't know the specifics of her case," referring to Johnson.