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Sunday, February 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

DC Claims Tax Official Embezzled $34 Million

WASHINGTON (CN) - A manager in the District of Columbia's property tax division embezzled $34 million with help from a Bank of America branch manager and a woman who owns "home services" companies, the District claims in Superior Court.

The conspiracy allegedly had begun by October 2000 through NationsBank, which Bank of America acquired in 2005. The District demands treble damages of $104 million from Bank of America, Harriette Walters, Walter Jones Jr., and Jayrece Turnbull.

Walters worked for the District since 1981 and was manager of its Real Property Tax Administration Adjustments Unit from 2004 until late 2007. "As Manager of the RPTAAU, one of Ms. Walters's duties was to authorize or decline property tax refund requests or vouchers," the complaint states.

Jones was an assistant branch manager for NationsBank and then BofA. He allegedly deposited $17.9 million in checks at his bank, "as part of the conspiracy."

Turnbull owned bank accounts in the names of Chappa Home Services, Legna Home Services, "and variants of those names," at Jones's bank, the complaint states.

The District says it has found 116 fraudulent tax refund checks, worth more than $34 million, all "laundered through Defendant Bank." It adds: "Of the vouchers for the 116 fraudulent tax refund checks that have been found so far, all were approved by Defendant Walters."

BofA fired Jones in February 2007, the complaint states. The complaint lists 5 pages of checks Jones allegedly deposited, totaling $17.9 million, many of them to "Home Services" companies, many of them marked "hold for pick-up." Most are in the $300,000-$400,000 range; all are for more than $100,000.

The District demands treble damages of $104,571,730.80, and punitive damages.

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