COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Cohoes Police and the IRS are investigating a former tax preparer after customers claimed their identities – and even a child’s social security number – were stolen. NEWS10 ABC has also learned that the man being investigated is a convicted felon.
“My 2-year-old has to deal with identity theft.” Kayla Wittmann said.
She believes her son became a victim of identity theft after she went to the Jackson Hewitt location in Cohoes to file her taxes. While there, she filled out some paperwork which included her and her son’s social security numbers. In the end, she decided to save some cash and e-File her taxes online.
“And when we went to e-file it got declined saying our son’s social security number was already used on someone else’s taxes.”
A friend working at the Jackson Hewitt office alerted her that her son’s name and social security number had popped up on another customer’s tax return.
“And the other person didn’t even know the taxes were filed. He didn’t get the money for it.”
But she suspects someone else did. Kayla filed a report with Cohoes Police who tell NEWS10 that they and the IRS are now investigating several other complaints involving allegations of identity theft involving the same tax preparer. Law enforcement sources also said the unidentified 32-year-old man is a convicted felon, pleading guilty in the past to two felony burglary convictions.
“It was very shocking to learn that someone with multiple felonies was handling people’s sensitive information,” Kayla said.
NEWS10 paid a visit to Jackson Hewitt’s main office in Colonie to ask if they had conducted a background check on the former employee. Manager Melissa Fournier said they do not do background checks on employees. She added, “It might be in the future, being that this happened. “
No arrest have been made in the case. Jackson Hewitt said the employee was fired in February over an unrelated incident.