GLOVERSVILLE – A city woman is accused of filing false and fraudulent personal-income tax returns in the names and Social Security numbers of several city residents without their knowledge or consent, authorities said.
Crystal Sweet, 38, of 462 Nine Mile Tree Road, was arrested at her residence Wednesday and charged with 20 felonies, including third-degree grand larceny, three counts of first-degree identity theft, third-degree attempted grand larceny, 11 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and four counts of second-degree identity theft.
She is alleged to have reported false employment and earned income on these returns, and then claimed numerous credits to maximize personal income tax refunds, according to a news release from the state agency.
In total, she claimed approximately $30,000 in unjustified refunds for her personal use, authorities said.
Agency spokesman Cary Ziter said Sweet obtained the personal information through “various devious methods,” but he couldn’t get into details at this stage of the case.
Ziter also said because the investigation is ongoing, he couldn’t say exactly how many Gloversville residents may have had their identity stolen.
He said the identities Sweet allegedly used often were people she knew.
She was arraigned in Mayfield Town Court by Judge John Papa.
The alleged fraud was uncovered and investigated by the Tax Department, and the case was referred to Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira for prosecution, the news release said.
Sweet was being held Wednesday at the Fulton County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. Her next court appearance is scheduled for July 23.
“District Attorney Sira and her team are to be commended for their work in this matter,” Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox said in a prepared statement. “The arrest is another opportunity to remind all taxpayers to be vigilant when it comes to guarding private information, including Social Security numbers, which clearly can be used for illegal purposes when they fall into the wrong hands.
“We will continue to work diligently to uncover such blatant disregard for the law and protect the citizens of Fulton County,” said District Attorney Sira.
Authorities are advising residents if they suspect a person completing taxes is engaging in unethical or illegal practices, to report it to the Tax Department by calling 457-0578.