A Gloversville woman faces 20 felony charges for allegedly claiming $30,000 in fraudulent credits on tax returns.
Crystal Sweet, 38, was arrested earlier this week at her 462 Nine Mile Tree Road residence following an investigation by the state Department of Taxation and Finance.
Sweet is accused of using the names and Social Security numbers of several unwitting Gloversville residents to file fraudulent personal income tax returns. She allegedly reported additional employment and earned income on those returns, then claimed numerous credits to maximize refunds.
Taxation and Finance spokesman Cary Ziter could not comment on the time frame of the allegations except to say “There were many separate filings, which would have taken a number of months.”
The case was uncovered and investigated by the state agency. Through a combination of human examination and computer software, Ziter said, every tax return is “touched” before a refund is paid out.
“You might be able to slip a few through,” he said, “but eventually our programs tip us off.”
Taxation and Finance verifies each return by cross-checking it with employer paperwork. Ziter said, for example, that if an employee reports one income on his tax return and the employer claims a different amount, investigators are alerted.
Sweet’s alleged filings claimed a cumulative $30,000 in refunds, not all of which was actually paid out. Ziter could not comment on how much Sweet allegedly received.
The office of Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira assisted with the investigation and has since taken over the case. Sira could not be reached Wednesday, but released a statement: “We will continue to work diligently to uncover such blatant disregard for the law and protect the citizens of Fulton County.”
State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas Mattox also released a statement commending Sira and her team for their part of the investigation.
“The arrest is another opportunity to remind all taxpayers to be vigilant when it comes to guarding private information, including Social Security numbers,” he said, “which clearly can be used for illegal purposes when they fall into the wrong hands.”
Sweet is charged with one count each of grand larceny and attempted grand larceny, seven counts of identity theft and 11 counts of offering a false instrument for filing.
She is being held in the Fulton County jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. Her next court appearance is scheduled for July 23.