Man Charged with $2.5 Million Fraud Scheme Using Prisoners' Identities

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The U.S. Department of Justice and the IRS recently announced that Harvey James of Montgomery, Ala., has been charged with participating in a scheme in which stolen identities were used to file more than 2,000 false tax returns claiming more than $2.5 million in fraudulent refunds between 2010 and 2012.

James allegedly obtained the stolen identities from people who had access to inmate information from the Alabama Department of Corrections.

James and others then allegedly used those identities to file false federal and state tax refunds, which were either sent to prepaid debit cards or paid by check -- in either case, many of the refunds were allegedly mailed to various addresses on a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier's route in Montgomery.

James faces 34 counts of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft -- if convicted, he faces 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud, and to two years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft, along with fines, restitution and forfeiture.