Man charged with stealing $2.3 million in tax refunds

Half-million came from Missouri tax returns

A Georgia man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for a scheme using the identity information of deceased people to obtain more than $2.3 million in tax refunds from several states, including Missouri.

Sirhon Rivers, also known as “Ron,” 40, was charged in a 32-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City on March 19. That indictment was unsealed and made public after the arrest and initial court appearance of Rivers in Atlanta on Tuesday. He remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing in Atlanta.

The federal indictment alleges that Rivers unlawfully obtained $547,000 from the Missouri Department of Revenue by filing fraudulent tax returns. Rivers allegedly used the same scheme in other states to unlawfully acquire a total of $2,365,000 in fraudulent state tax refunds. The indictment alleges that Rivers participated in this conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft from January 2008 to August 2012.

According to the indictment, Rivers obtained personal identification information — including names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth — from deceased people. He allegedly submitted state tax returns using that information, adding false and fraudulent information such as employment and wages earned. State tax returns were submitted electronically, the indictment says, with the refunds electronically transferred to bank accounts that Rivers opened at several financial institutions.

In addition to the wire fraud and identity theft conspiracy, Rivers is charged with 25 counts of wire fraud, five counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

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