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July 26, 2018

Former IRS Employee Sentenced for Stealing Taxpayer's Identity

On May 11, 2018, in the Western District of Arkansas, former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Ryan Payne was sentenced and remanded to custody for aggravated identity theft and false representation of a Social Security Number (SSN). Payne had been indicted for the offenses in July 2017, and pled guilty in January 2018.

Payne was employed as a revenue agent by the IRS in Fayetteville, Arkansas, until January 2015, when he resigned. According to the indictment, in April 2015 and August 2015, Payne, knowingly and with the intent to deceive, falsely represented two SSNs to be his own while applying for a loan and a bank account, respectively, when in fact neither of the SSNs was assigned to him.

Payne admitted that he had obtained one of these SSNs during his employment with the IRS. Specifically, as part of his duties as a revenue agent, Payne conducted an audit of a victim's business. During the audit, the victim provided Payne with a flash drive containing business records and personal identifying information. Payne admitted that he kept the flash drive after his resignation from the IRS and later retrieved the personal information from it.

CreditSecure notified the victim that his identity had been compromised and that multiple credit accounts had been set up using his name, date of birth, and SSN. For example, Payne had set up an account at Synchrony Bank using the victim's SSN, but with a business name and billing address associated with himself.

Payne was sentenced to 52 months' imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. He was further ordered to pay restitution totaling $9,953.13. Payne is appealing his sentence.

    Source:  The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: W.D. Ark. Indict. filed July 26, 2017; W.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 5, 2018; W.D. Ark. Judgment filed May 11, 2018; W.D. Ark. Notice of Appeal filed May 24, 2018.