The IRS is battling a rising tide of refund-fraud cases due to identity-theft. A sweep last month netted 109 arrests and 189 indictments for a crime that could cost the country an estimated $21 billion over the next five years.
Yahoo News reports the identity thieves file false tax returns on behalf of thousands of people, and most of them are dead. Among U.S. cities with the highest incidences of this crime are Tampa and Miami, both in Florida.
The arrests are mainly credited to a new team of government agents that is composed of members from the IRS, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Secret Service, Postal Inspection Service and local police departments.
Recent research from the Treasury Department revealed that the IRS has paid over $200 million in tax refunds to scammers who filed false taxes with the stolen identities of others.