Tax refund nightmare

Seven On Your Side
April 20, 2009 3:29:16 PM PDT
The mother of two actually knows a thing or two about fraud. It's her job to investigate it for a major department store. So when an employee at her tax preparer allegedly stole her refund check, she didn't panic.

But now more than a month has gone by and, she says, the tax preparer hasn't helped to get her money back.

Danielle Honan-Camacho cast her trained professional eye on Jackson Hewitt's security system. "Very bad," was the term she used when asked.

Danielle hired Jackson Hewitt tax preparers to do her taxes last January. But, according to a police report a "dishonest employee" working at a Bronx Jackson Hewitt stole her refund check of $7262.

"They finally tracked it down to a receptionist who they had let go a couple of weeks ago because they were reducing staff," said Danielle.

Jackson Hewitt told the employee easily navigated their security system that requires the employee to pass a biometric scan and submit social security numbers for both the employee and client in order to steal Danielle's refund check.

Jackson Hewitt says their former employee will go to trial May. But what really angers this single mother of two was the tax preparer that bills itself as one of the largest in the U.S. hasn't reimbursed her the money allegedly stolen by their employee.

"They are waiting for her to go to court to see what restitution they can get from her before they issue my money," says the frustrated taxpayer. "But that's not my problem."

So, 7 On Your Side stepped in to try and make this fraud watchdog whole. And after just one ten minute phone call to a Jackson Hewitt manager the taxing situation was history.

"They gave me both checks," exclaimed a very relieved Danielle.

That's right, 2 checks, one for her refund, and the other refunded her tax preparation fee.

We spoke to a few reps for Jackson Hewitt who all apologized and acknowledged they did a poor job resolving this, admitting Danielle should've received her refund more than a month ago. When we also pointed out their lapse in security, they agreed saying they will be working on new, greater security measures to ensure employees don't steal in the future.