Seminole County sees dramatic rise in tax fraud cases



SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The number of tax return fraud cases in Seminole County is skyrocketing, according to the Sheriff's Office.

William Robbins said when it happened to him, he was caught completely off-guard.

"I get a call, 'Hey, we've got to talk. You've been rejected,'" said Robbins.

The father of two said when he went to file his taxes he was expecting a $2,000 refund.

Instead of a refund, he said the Internal Revenue Service told him that someone already had collected his refund, using his identification and Social Security number.

The Seminole County man said that while the IRS stopped the crook from getting the money, he still hasn't seen a dime.

"I got kids to feed, a roof to keep over my heads, rent to pay and bills to pay," said Robbins.

Robbins isn't alone.

WFTV's Kenneth Craig learned that Robbins' is just one of 121 cases the Seminole Financial Crimes Task Force received in 2012. That's twice the number they had in 2011, according to the Sheriff's Office.

"This is a newer type of identity theft; it's a growing type of identity theft. And right now it's definitely the season," said Heather Smith with the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

The multi-agency task force in charge of investigating the crimes said it's aggressively investigating each case. But authorities admit they haven't made any arrests.

"These are extremely complicated crimes to work. They can take weeks, months, even years," said Smith.

Investigators said filing taxes early is the best way to prevent fraud of this type.

Robbins says he wants the person who stole his identity caught and he wants to get his money.

"It's wrong, and I hope they catch up with them. I hope they go to prison, and pay for it," said Robbins.