EAST ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com)- More than 20 people have been indicted for tax fraud after the Department of Justice says each one of them took advantage of hard-earned tax payer money.
The prosecuting attorney says that about $10 million dollars is missing in the area because of bad tax preparers, who often pad documents with fake numbers or steal identities to receive a big government check.
Gennifer Bynum, a tax preparer from America's Tax Service in East St. Louis, says she's shocked that dozens of fellow preparers are taking advantage of people in the community that she lives.
"You're not just hurting yourself, you're hurting other families who work hard all year long for their money," said Bynum.
Five people from the metro east are facing possible jail time after preparing fake tax documents in East St. Louis and about two dozen people have been indicted for tax schemes near St. Louis. Investigators say the suspects faced up the forms so clients could get refunds larger than they deserve.
A Shiloh woman is accused of taking money to prepare her clients taxes, but she never officially signed the documents with her name.
Investigators say they found more than 50 debit cards in the car of a Marion woman and say the woman would use the personal information to file fake taxes.
A New York woman was also indicted for hacking into an Alton computer system, taking hundreds of social security numbers, all in an effort to commit tax fraud.
Federal employees want to remind citizens that they will be held accountable for their taxes, even if a preparer takes advantage of them.