IRS worker in Kansas City accused of stealing $5K from taxpayer refunds

A former IRS employee in Kansas City has been indicted in federal court, accused of stealing more than $5,000 from taxpayers, prosecutors announced in a news release.

A grand jury handed up the indictment Oct. 2 in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, charging 39-year-old Tamara R. Miller with two counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and two counts of theft of public money.

The indictment was unsealed Wednesday after Miller was arrested. She’s accused of funneling taxpayer refund money to accounts she set up and controlled.

Theft charges

According to the indictment, Miller was employed as a data transcriber at the IRS in Kansas City and handled individual income tax returns received by mail. The charges stem from crimes allegedly committed around March 2017 and March 2018.

Prosecutors allege Miller targeted tax returns where taxpayers opted to have their refund paid with a U.S. Treasury check. Those forms did not show a routing number or an account number for direct deposit to a bank, court records note. The indictment states Miller used identification information from the tax returns, including names and Social Security numbers, to open accounts at online banks that issued prepaid debit cards.

Miller then entered the routing and account numbers of fake accounts on the “Refund” section of tax returns, court records said. Prosecutors state she also added the routing and account numbers of an existing account she had access to “as an alternative means of fraudulently altering taxpayers’ returns.”

The forms were altered without the taxpayers’ knowledge.

According to the indictment, the defendant was employed as a data transcriber with the IRS at the Kansas City Service Center, 333 W. Pershing Road. This is a Google Maps view of the Kansas City Service Center from April 2019. Google Maps

“Miller allegedly caused the fraudulently altered Forms 1040 to be submitted and processed for payment of the refund amounts requested by the taxpayers. The refund amounts were subsequently deposited directly to accounts controlled by Miller and accessible to Miller,” the indictment said.

“As the final step in the execution of the scheme to defraud, Miller converted the proceeds from the fraudulently directed refunds to her own use. “

The indictment released Wednesday cites two victims of Miller’s fraud scheme, with a total loss amount of $5,214.

An attorney has not been listed for Miller in public records.

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Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.