A 30-year-old man has been arrested on federal charges he filed 39 fraudulent tax returns last year to obtain more than $288,000 in bogus refunds.
Daniel White, of Tampa, faces 39 counts of making false claims with the Internal Revenue Service and one count of theft of government funds.
U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Jenkins said White would not be released for 48 hours to see if state authorities want to issue a warrant charging him with violating probation.
White pleaded guilty last year to burglary charges and was sentenced to two years of probation.
According to the indictment against White, he filed tax returns between May 11 and Oct. 20, claiming refunds ranging from $4,000 to $9,588. At least one claim involved the identity of a deceased person, the indictment states.
His arrest was just the latest development in the explosion in tax refund fraud in the Tampa area.
Authorities say criminals are using stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns, complete with phony financial information, to obtain "refunds" from the IRS. The returns are filed throughout the year, not just the traditional tax season.
Officials estimate thieves are stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from federal taxpayers in the Tampa area alone. The thefts have sparked hearings in Washington, where legislators have introduced bills aimed at cracking down on the fraud.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor plans workshops Thursday in Tampa and St. Petersburg where constituents can get information and help on identity theft, tax fraud and other crimes.
Castor said victims of identity theft can get help from her office. The first workshop, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., will be at the Cyrus Greene Community Center, 2101 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tampa. The second, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., will be at the Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S., St. Petersburg.
Topics include protecting personal information, safe computing and credit reports.