A Puyallup woman has been indicted in U.S. District Court for allegedly using TurboTax and another electronic tax-filing program to file fraudulent returns with the IRS.
Barbara Holly Stahlman is charged with 10 counts of identity fraud. Federal prosecutors allege she used the personal identification information of others, including friends, relatives and at least one prison inmate, to generate false tax returns.
In most cases, the people didn’t know she was using their information for her own gain, investigators said.
Stahlman allegedly bilked the government out of nearly $50,000 in 2010, court records show.
She was arrested last month and allegedly admitted to much of the alleged conduct, court records state. She pleaded not guilty Friday and was released on her own recognizance pending the resolution of her case.
Her attorney, James Feldman, declined comment.
IRS special agent Eric Hergert wrote in a complaint filed in January that Stahlman filed tax returns using TurboTax or Tax ACT. The returns included the names and Social Security numbers of real people but contained false employment information.
Refunds were directed to prepaid debit card accounts she controlled, Hergert wrote.
In one case, Stahlman allegedly used information belonging to a long-time friend and her family, court records show. In another, she used information belonging to her cousin.
In yet another, she allegedly used information belonging to a state prison inmate to file a false return, court records show. The inmate later cooperated with the government, and agent Hergert listened in on a phone call he placed to Stahlman in which she allegedly told the inmate, “I’ll do your taxes and stuff for you” and “Do me a favor and recruit.”
Hergert wrote that people running tax-fraud schemes sometimes use personal information from prison inmates to file fraudulent returns.Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/crime @TNTadam