AZ tax fraud cases deemed 'growing epidemic' - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

AZ tax fraud cases deemed 'growing epidemic'

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The Arizona Department of Revenue said it prevented more than $74 million in fraudulent income tax refunds from being sent out over the past fiscal year.    

Calling it a "growing epidemic," revenue officials said it marked a $42 million increase from the previous fiscal year, when $32 million in fraudulent refunds were stopped.    

"To give an idea of how dire this problem has become, consider that just five years ago we stopped less than $2 million in fraudulent refunds," Assistant Director for the Department of Revenue Anthony Forschino said.

Forschino attributed the increase from the prior year to enhancements to the department's computer programs along with assigning additional highly trained and motivated financial auditors and investigators to this effort.

The IRS reported in tax year 2013 it paid out nearly $4 billion in fraudulent refunds to criminals. IRS data shows that identity theft grew 66 percent during that year.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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