JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (1/22/13)--Five former VyStar CU tellers have been banned from working at any Florida state-chartered financial institution for their alleged role in an income tax scheme in which they allegedly cashed $500,000 in fraudulent checks.
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation issued the ban after a seven-month investigation by the State Attorney's Office, the U.S. Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (Jacksonville Business Journal Jan. 18)
Employees of the Jacksonville, Fla. credit union helped uncover the operation in early 2012 when they reported irregular activity involving refund checks from the Internal Revenue Service. People who were not listed as the recipient of checks were trying to cash them.
The investigation led to the arrest of 17 people in Florida and New York. Some perpetrators stole identities used to create the fraudulent tax returns. Others prepared the fake returns or posed as members attempting to cash IRS checks.
The tellers from VyStar allegedly cashed the checks and gave the money to other members of the ring, even though it was against the credit union's policy. The tellers were paid $1,000 for each transaction they completed.
The scheme did not impact VyStar's financials or its members' accounts, said the credit union.