Identity theft is a fast growing crime that can happen to anyone. While working as a security guard at a nursing home, Derek Johnson stole identifying information from current and former residents of the home and then used that information to obtain more than $400,000 in fraudulent tax refunds. Johnson was part of an extensive network of more than 100 people involved in this scheme. Bank tellers and postal carriers were also involved. Over several years, this group filed at least 7,000 fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking more than $20 million in refunds. In addition to the people in Johnson’s nursing home, the group used identities of people in assisted living facilities, drug addicts and even incarcerated prisoners.
Johnson was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay a total of $435,764 in restitution to Internal Revenue Service. He is one of nine who had pled guilty as of 2013 in one of the largest identity theft prosecutions to date.