Two Eastern Europeans accused of stealing tax refunds -

Two Eastern Europeans accused of stealing tax refunds

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( - A woman from Russia who doesn't even have a right to a U.S. tax refund is accused of cashing in with her boyfriend from Belarus.

Alexsandr Rabikov of Belarus and Yulia Belomyttseva, who's here on a tourist visa, were living in Miami, Florida until they were arrested.

"We know this couple has filed at least 300 fraudulent tax returns and the number might be larger," said U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan.

Callahan is prosecuting the pair in St. Louis because many of the victims are employees of Southern Commercial Bank. According to the affidavit, malware was placed on software on a third party vendors system, allowing members of a conspiracy to collect bank personal employee information.

No customer information was taken. Members of the conspiracy allegedly filed false tax returns on behalf of bank employees, some of that money ended up with Rabikov and Belomyttseva.

"Right now the IRS believes the fraudulent refunds generated a million dollars in refunds," said Callahan.

Phony refunds filed on behalf of St. Louis residents were allegedly directed to bank accounts in Florida controlled by Rabikov. He then allegedly wrote checks to Belomyttseva to deposit in her accounts.

According to federal records, some of the stolen tax money was then withdrawn from ATMs on the streets of Minsk, Belarus.

U.S. Attorney Steve Wiggington of Southern Illinois says foreign criminals are preying on the IRS.

"Organized crime has found that it is much easier to steal peoples identifies and steal their money out of their tax returns that it is to stick them up with a gun," said Wigginton.

Rabikov and Belomyttsva pleaded not guilty.

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