BRONX, N.Y. (CN) - A class action accuses H&R Block employees of stealing customers' tax refunds by using their personal information to file fraudulent tax returns in their names, defrauding the state and federal government.
Lead plaintiffs Sharon Hawa and Kevin and Deborah Johns say H&R Block "has long known that some of its employees have improperly accessed its customers' tax returns and personal identifying information and used that information to file fraudulent tax returns in the name of those customers in order to steal tax refunds from federal and state governments."
In the class action in Bronx County Supreme Court, Hawa says she complained that when she filed her 2008 taxes at an H&R Block office in the Bronx, the federal government rejected her return because someone had already filed one in her name. The IRS had already issued a refund in the amount of $8,499, according to the lawsuit.
Hawa says the police told her that she was among dozens of victims whose identity had been stolen by a temporary employee of H&R Block "or a group of individuals working at H&R Block."
The Johns similarly claim that someone at H&R Block stole their $6,145 refund using the previous year's adjusted gross income, "a figure known only to Mr. and Mrs. Johns, their employers, and employees of H&R Block."
The plaintiffs are suing H&R Block for negligence; gross negligence in the hiring, retention, training and supervision of its employees; breach of fiduciary duty and state law violations.
They demand $100,000 plus $1,000 per violation of law. They are represented by Kevin Mallon of Fishman & Mallon.
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