IRS Agent Accused of Stealing Tax Refunds

By Sara Dover
|  Sunday, Dec 19, 2010  |  Updated 11:31 AM EDT
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Most taxpayers feel like Uncle Sam is simply taking their money,  and one IRS agent may have proven the feeling correct.

Fern Stephens, a revenue officer at the Internal Revenue Service, is being charged by the U.S. Attorney's office for stealing more than $160,000 in unclaimed tax funds from 12 taxpayers, according to federal court documents.

If convicted of all counts of mail fraud, theft of government funds, and unlawful access  of a government computer, Stephens faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.

In one instance the U.S. Attorney's office accuses Stephens of duping $3,340 from a Manhattan-based bankrupt company by claiming that the principal of the business asked for the money by the IRS and then pocketing it herself.

Stephens also allegedly took advantage of her position in the IRS to put in fake tax refund requests and transfers in an IRS computer system so the money would go right back to her or relatives and friends.

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