Livingston County Sheriff
Theft reported at Dansville income tax office
Kathleen Middleton, 47, of Dansville, an employee of the H & R Block Dansville office, was arrested March 15 on charges of fourth degree grand larceny, second degree forgery, and second degree identity theft. The charges relate to missing funds which Middleton allegedly embezzled from customers’ income tax returns.
There have been at least four victims, all of whom opted for a rapid refund in which H & R Block provides a prepaid Emerald Mastercard of value equal to the refund. Unbeknownst to the victims, Middleton was deducting hundreds of dollars from the refunds before applying them to the card. According to Livingston Count Sheriff’s Major Matt Burgess, the total amount taken was slightly under $3,000.
In each case, the victims eventually realized they had been cheated after comparing the refund figures at the H & B Block website with the IRS website. The latter indicated larger amounts which the victims ought to have received.
The thefts appear to have been associated only with the Dansville H & R Block office.
“There were no concerns with any of the other offices,” Burgess confirmed.
Victims were given the Emerald card without ever having seen their actual income tax returns. Middleton forged the signatures on the returns, hence the charges of identity theft and forgery.
“If the victims had signed their own returns, they would have seen they were entitled to several hundred dollars more than they were getting,” Burgess said.
The four victims were from Dansville, Nunda, Springwater and Farmington.
Burgess suspects that all the cases of refund theft have been detected. However, there is a possibility that there have been other victims. Anyone who suspects they themselves have been deceived in receiving their IRS refund, or knows of someone in such a situation, should contact the Livingston County Sheriff’s office.