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Double Oak Police Beat – April 2015

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Double Oak Police Chief Derrick Watson
Double Oak Police Chief Derrick Watson

Attention.  Recovered Property.  We recently recovered two chainsaws that were probably taken in a burglary of a building (read shed or garage) and abandoned on a Double Oak street.  Please call our offices at 972-355-5995 or via email at police @double-oak.com with a description of your missing chainsaw(s).  We would like to return them to their rightful owners.

As of March 25, 2015 we are aware of seven households in the Town of Double Oak who have had fraudulent tax returns filed.  We have also received multiple reports of aggressive telephone callers identifying themselves as agents of the Internal Revenue Service and demanding payment.

IRS Imposter scams are on the rise.  The Federal Trade Commission tracks complaints nationwide and reported 94 offenses per month in July 2013 with a high of 8,293 scams per month reported in November 2014.

From the Federal Trade Commission website consumer.ftc.gov, “Contact the IRS if they send you a notice saying their records show:  You were paid by an employer you don’t know and/or more than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number.”  Currently numerous Double Oak residents are discovering that when they go to file their tax return another return has already been filed and a criminal has received a fraudulent tax refund.  “If you think someone used your SSN for a tax refund or a job – or the IRS sends you a notice or letter indicating a problem – contact the IRS immediately.”  “Specialists will work with you to get your tax return filed, get you any refund you are due, and protect your IRS account from identity thieves in the future.” (Tax-Related Identity Theft – consumer.ftc.gov).

It is important to remember that an IRS agent will NOT contact you by phone or email and that communication will be done through the United States mail.  Payment to the IRS is never made or requested by a prepaid debit card or a money transfer.  The IRS doesn’t require a specific type of payment.  Prepaid debit cards and wire transfers lend themselves to fraud.  If you do receive a suspicious phone call please don’t give the caller information.  Please DO write down the details of the call.  Please HANG UP as soon as possible and then contact the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-1040 or go to irs.gov.  Please DO file a complaint with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at tigta.gov or 800-366-4484 and with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 877-FTC-HELP.

Suspects are being identified, prosecuted and sentenced to jail.  The Internal Revenue Service has an ever increasing list of persons convicted for filing false income tax returns (http://www.irs.gov/uac/Examples-of-Identity-Theft-Schemes-Fiscal -Year-2014).  A review of the case synopsis (36 pages of defendants) is interesting and certain trends become clear.  For whatever reason there are numerous cases of false income tax returns being filed from Florida (it could be as simple as an active task force successfully tracking and prosecuting offenders).  In a majority of cases the defendants had access to large amounts of personally identifying information (PII) through their employment.  In a very large number of cases the person filing the false income tax returns, and stealing PII has a tax preparation business.  I’ve included a couple of IRS case summaries for your edification:

Louisiana Tax Preparer Sentenced for Filing Hundreds of False Tax Returns

“On March 12, 2014, in Baton Rouge, La., Ashley D. Ricks-Stampley was sentenced to 81 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  She was also ordered to pay $699,734 in restitution to the IRS and $11,138 to the Louisiana Department of Revenue.  During her guilty plea hearing, Ricks-Stampley admitted to defrauding the IRS by submitting hundreds of false tax returns in the names of other individuals, without their knowledge or consent, for the purpose of receiving thousands of dollars in tax refunds.  The applications falsely represented that the individual had worked for various companies during 2010 and 2011 and were eligible for income tax refunds.  In fact, these individuals had not worked for or earned wages from the companies reflected in the fraudulent tax returns. “

Former VA Employee Sentenced for Theft of Veterans’ Personal Information

“On March 6, 2014, in Tampa, Fla., David F. Lewis was sentenced to 72 months in prison and ordered to pay a $105,271 money judgment.  Lewis pleaded guilty on Dec. 10, 2013 to access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents and testimony presented in court, Lewis was an employee at the Tampa VA Medical Center.  On at least five different dates in 2012, Lewis accessed and printed the personal information, including names, social security numbers, and medical information, of over 100 veterans who were in-patients at the medical center.  Lewis then gave these documents to someone else in exchange for crack cocaine, knowing that the veterans’ information would be used by other to file fraudulent tax returns in order to fraudulently obtain tax refunds, and in at least one instance, to apply for lines of credit in the veteran’s name.”

Common themes that run throughout the IRS summaries include persons who had access to sensitive personal identifying information (persons with professions as varied as health care worker, prison guard, tax preparer, credit union teller, school district employee or plain old hard working thief) would steal and then use, or sell, that same information.   The prosecuted cases usually involved the filing of hundreds of returns and it was interesting to note that the suspects often had the refunds sent to the same financial accounts or mailboxes or they solicited friends and acquaintances to deposit the fraudulent refunds.

If you are the victim of identity theft and it is affecting your federal tax records you will be asked to file Internal Revenue Service Form 14039.  You will be also have to provide a short narrative regarding what happened, photocopied personal identifying information, and contact information.  Again the IRS would like to emphasize that they do not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, fax, or any social media tools to request personal or financial information.  Report unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS and bogus IRS websites to phishing@irs.gov.  For additional information please visit IRS.gov and search for “Fake IRS Communications.”  You will receive assistance from the IRS with the filing of a corrected tax return.

You may also be asked to file Form 8821-A which is Disclosure Authorization for Victims of Identity Theft.  Form 8821-A permits criminal investigators to obtain the information provided by a third party using your name or social security number without your knowledge or consent.   It’s the beginning of a criminal investigation and hopefully the discovery of the suspect(s) who stole your identity.  Your local law enforcement agency is more than willing to take a report, assist with the completion of forms and to follow-up on any local suspect leads.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

The following is the activity log from the Double Oak Police Department:

03-13 8:31 p.m. – Alarm – 100 blk. McMakin Rd.., Bartonville – Business alarm activated for an unknown reason.  Perimeter searched and no sign of criminal activity was detected.

03-14 11:41 a.m. – Assist Fire Department / Medical Call – 100 blk. Chinn Chapel Rd., Double Oak.

03-14 11:44 p.m. – Disturbance – 12000 blk. Hilltop Rd., Denton County – DOPD assisted Sheriff’s Deputy with investigation into a family argument.

03-15 11:16 a.m. – Suspicious Circumstances – 100 blk. Royal Oaks Dr., Double Oak – Witnesses reported two persons sitting inside of a parked car that were unknown to the neighborhood.  One subject had traffic warrants and neither had a driver’s license.  Officer was unable to confirm the warrants due to jail space availability.  Both subjects departed on foot.

03-16 2:16 a.m. – Open Building – 8300 blk. Justin Rd., Double Oak – Officer was conducting routine business checks and found an open door.  Alarm was activated.  No evidence of criminal activity was detected.

03-16 2:44 a.m. – Assist Fire Department / Medical Call – 8800 blk. Kamerlyn Dr., Argyle.

03-16 11:00 a.m. – Fraudulent Possession / Use of Identifying Information – 300 blk. Cross Timbers, Double Oak – Complainant received notification from the Internal Revenue Service that an unknown person had fraudulently filed their taxes.

03-17 10:11 a.m. – Suspicious Circumstances – 300 blk. Oakview, Double Oak – A resident received a phone call from an unknown person claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service and demanding payment.

03-18 9:45 a.m. – Animal Control – 6200 blk. Plantation Ln., Double Oak – A witness observed a dead cow in a pasture with a rope attached to its’ body.  Further investigation revealed that the bovine had passed from natural causes and the owner was having the animal removed by a third party.

03-19 11:37 a.m. – Solicitation Complaint – Cross Timbers Dr., Double Oak – A witness reported three males going door to door soliciting lawn care services without a solicitor’s permit.  Officer made contact with the subjects, explained the permitting process, and issued a warning citation.  Subjects entered their vehicle and left the neighborhood.

03-19 12:30 p.m.
– Alarm – 300 blk. E. Carruth, Double Oak – Alarm accidentally activated by cleaning staff.

03-19 10:33 p.m.
– Assist Agency – 1200 blk. S. Gibbons Rd., Bartonville – DOPD assisted Bartonville Officer with investigation into what smelled like burning marijuana.  Upon further investigation it was determined that multiple young adults and a juvenile had been in a shed consuming alcohol.  None of the subjects were of drinking age and they were issued citations for alcohol violations.  The young adults were asked to leave the property, by the homeowner and were subsequently picked up by a parent.

03-19 6:00 p.m.
– Breach of Computer Security – 320 Waketon Rd., Double Oak – Police Department workstation infected with “ransom ware”.  Unknown suspect(s) utilized Windows encryption software, most likely delivered through an email attachment, to encrypt files and demand payment via a third party financial vendor to obtain the decryption key.  Workstation hard drive was isolated, wiped clean and backup files reinstalled.  It is important to note that data did not leave the department but was rendered inaccessible through encryption.

03-20 10:00 a.m.
– Fraudulent Possession / Use of Personally Identifying Information – 100 blk. Hollow Oak Ct., Double Oak – Complainant received notification from the Internal Revenue Service that an unknown person had fraudulently filed their taxes.

03-20 11:26 a.m. – Accident – 300 blk. Kings Rd., Double Oak – A motorist collided with a residential mailbox.  Motorist did notify the property owner of the accident.

03-21 12:54 p.m.
– Animal Bite – 8300 blk. Justin Rd., Double Oak – After investigation it was determined that the bite had happened in the county and a Deputy took the report.

03-22 5:37 p.m.
– Assist Agency – 9000 blk. Justin Rd., Copper Canyon – DOPD officer assisted Sheriff’s Deputy with resolution of a minor disturbance.  Both parties were referred to civil court.

03-22 7:39 p.m.
– Traffic Complaint – 200 blk. Fox Trot Ln., Double Oak – A witness reported a Corvette driving fast up and down Fox Trot Ln.  Upon arrival officer could not locate the vehicle.

03-22 8:49 p.m.
– Animal Complaint – 300 blk. Thornhill Cir., Double Oak – A resident reported a dog that had been barking over thirty minutes.  Officer attempted to contact the animal’s owner but no one was home.  Officer made contact with the pet owner, later in the evening, and issued a warning citation.

03-22 11:15 p.m.
– Suspicious Circumstances – 900 blk. Fortner Rd., Denton County – A resident reported an unknown person ringing their doorbell and standing outside a window.  Officer responded to the scene and searched the perimeter and interior of the home without finding anyone.

03-23 3:00 p.m. – Fraudulent Possession / Use of Personally Identifying Information – 100 blk. Brown Cliff Ct., Double Oak – Complainant was attempting to file their taxes electronically when the received notification from the Internal Revenue Service that their return had already been filed by an unknown person.

03-23 10:15 p.m.
– Road Blockage – 8100 blk. FM 407, Double Oak – Officer removed debris from the roadway.

03-24 6:48 a.m. – Animal Complaint – 300 blk. Waketon Rd., Double Oak – Officers retrieved a loose dog from the roadway and located its’ owner.

03-24 4:10 p.m. – Suspicious Circumstances – 200 blk. Double Oaks Dr., Double Oak – A resident received a phone call from an unknown person purporting to be an employee with the Internal Revenue Service.

03-24 3:00 p.m. – Fraudulent Possession / Use of Personally Identifying Information – 200 blk. Ridgebriar Ln. Double Oak – Complainant was attempting to file their taxes electronically when they received notification from the Internal Revenue Service that their return had already been filed by an unknown person.

03-24 5:21 p.m. – Welfare Concern – 900 blk. Witherspoon Way, Bartonville – DOPD Officer helped Bartonville Officer with attempt to locate a known subject.

03-24 7:47 p.m. – Assist Agency – 7700 blk. FM 407, Denton County – DOPD Officer dispatched to assist Highland Village Officer with searching for a suspect who had fled the scene of an accident driving a blue Nissan Maxima.  HVPD lost the suspect in the vicinity of Lantana Trail, Denton County.

03-25 2:15 a.m. – Suspicious Circumstances – 300 blk. Meadowknoll, Double Oak – A resident reported an exceptionally loud truck driving through their neighborhood multiple times in the previous hour.

03-25 2:29 a.m. – Suspicious Circumstances – 300 blk. Meadowknoll, Double Oak – Officer found an open garage door and investigated further after another resident had reported a suspicious truck in the area.  No reports of theft at this location.

03-25 5:09 p.m. – Theft – 300 blk. Highland Ct., Double Oak – A resident reported that they had jewelry stolen from their home.

03-26 7:46 p.m. – Open Door – 1200 blk. Saddlebrook Way, Bartonville – A homeowner found their house unsecure.  Bartonville and Double Oak Police Officers searched the home and found no evidence of loss of property.

03-26 4:00 p.m. – Fraudulent Possession / Use of Personally Identifying Information – 100 blk. N. Woodland Trl., Double Oak – Complainant’s accountant was attempting to file their taxes electronically when they received notification from the Internal Revenue Service that their return had already been filed by an unknown person.

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