Woman alleges tax agent stole her refund check | News
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM)- For many, an income tax return check is spent before it arrives, and Tetta Miller was no different.
"I need that money and stuff to catch up on my rent," said Miller. "To help me pay my bills, I need that money and stuff so that I can go to the doctor and get my blood pressure medicine."
All of those things have been left undone because months after her agent told Miller her taxes had been filed - a check has not arrived.
"Monique Haywood Gwyn, she's been doing my taxes for several years, like probably four maybe more years," says Miller. "None of this has never happened before."
Haywood is a friend of a friend to Miller - a former teacher; she gave Miller the paperwork, and told her to expect a tax return check for more than $4,000.
"I was waiting on my taxes, and I'm waiting still and they never come," said Miller.
But when it never arrived she became suspicious.
"So I started asking her and she started giving me different days," Miller said, telling her that it would be another week or one number had to be changed and she had to resend the forms.
But eventually Miller ran out of patience and called the Internal Revenue Service.
"They was like, um, the money had already been already sent - it went direct deposit." Miller does not have a direct deposit account. She was able to track the number to Regent's Bank in Hattiesburg and from there, find out that the paperwork had been filled out directing the money to be deposited into a checking account in Monique Haywood's name.
"It shows her account number and stuff right there," Miller said pointing to the rest of her tax return paperwork she was able to obtain that Haywood had held back. "Then when I try to get back in touch with her she still continued to say she did not know anything about the number. She said that all the while until I got to the police station, when I made it to the police station and I asked her again, she said 'What was that number again?' Then she said 'That's my old checking account number."
Seven on your Side went to Haywood's home to try to track her down and ask her why her account number was on Miller's tax returns but the only answer we got was a woman peeking through the blinds saying Haywood wasn't home. A car belonging to Haywood was parked out front.
Haywood has stopped returning Miller's calls and texts.
Miller says the IRS told her this appears to be tax fraud - which is a felony crime carrying jail time. Hattiesburg police are also investigating.
"A lot of these friends of friends don't have policies so if you don't have policies, then you're taking your chance, and this is what happens when you take a chance, you may lose your money," said Shane Sterling of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.