ID Theft in Backyard of Texas Attorney General

     LAREDO, Texas (CN) - An identity thief who used her position in the Texas Attorney General's Office to claim other people's tax refunds will serve 2 1/2 years prison.
     Eloisa Garcia Casso pleaded guilty to the crime on Feb. 25, 2011, and was sentenced Friday, prosecutors said.
     The scheme ran from January 2001 to March 2005. Co-conspirators Jacqueline Velasquez and Rosa Herrera, who also pleaded guilty, were sentenced a week earlier. While Velasquez got 40 months as the ringleader, Herrera was sentenced to probation and home confinement.
     "Casso was an employee of the Texas AG's Child Support Division, while Herrera worked for the Laredo Housing Authority," prosecutors said in the statement. "They used their positions to steal the identities of agency clients, all of whom were vulnerable low-income residents of Webb County.
     "This information was passed to Velasquez, who falsified tax return documents, which she submitted to the IRS.
     "Eventually, Casso also created and submitted falsified documents. The refunds from the IRS would then be deposited into borrowed bank accounts of friends and associates of the conspirators or the defendants would apply to a bank for refund anticipation loans."
     The IRS sniffed out the scheme when routine audits at its Austin office turned up several suspicious returns, prosecutors said.
     "At the same time, at least one victim taxpayer, attempting to file a proper tax return, discovered the fraud," prosecutors added.
     Casso, who left her job with the Texas AG's office in 2002, admitted to receiving or trying to receive up to $200,000 from the conspiracy, prosecutors said.