Two men were arrested in DeKalb Friday morning in what authorities call one of the largest tax fraud investigations in state history.
35-year-old Don Derrell Price of Jackson, Miss., and Timothy Benjamin Taylor, 41, of Dacula, Georgia, were arrested just after 8 a.m. at a business in DeKalb.
The pair is alleged to have used fake W-2 forms to file income tax returns for hundreds of people. They allegedly had paperwork, that turned out to be bogus, giving them power of attorney to act on behalf of these people.
Simply put, IRS and FBI officials say the two were filing for tax refunds on behalf of numerous people, from whom they stole identities, and defrauding the government by claiming refunds.
Price and Taylor were arrested in a sting operation at C & T Tax Service in DeKalb. Officials say the business is not involved in any wrongdoing and actually contacted authorities about irregularities employees noticed.
"All banks that are connected with income tax preparation, they knew everything about it," said Chris Chamberlin, owner of C & T Tax Service.
"He came in here and brought over 500 W-2 tax forms trying to process them with over 242 different people's names," said DeKalb Police Chief Steven Jackson.
DeKalb Officer Charles Barrett also received a call from one of the alleged defrauded individuals from Birmingham.
"He called and said he tried to file his income tax electronically. The IRS notified him that the taxes had already been filed on his Social Security number," said Barrett.
That's when DeKalb police contacted the FBI and IRS, and ultimately, planned the sting operation for when one of the suspects was returning to the tax service to collect about $70,000 in tax refunds.
Aside from the more than 140 fake W-2s that were discovered inside the suspects' car, investigators also found items in it that were thought to be used for burglaries, a number of keys, stamps to notarize documents and a check for more than $2 million.
"There's no telling how much bigger this is going to get before it's all over with," Barrett said.
Investigators say they believe the fraud has likely been going on for at least ten years and involves millions of dollars in stolen tax refunds.