Prosecutor: Man used names of dead children to file $16,000 in false income tax returns

CINCINNATI -- A man faces decades in prison after allegedly using the identities of dead children to claim more than $16,000 in false income tax refunds.

A federal grand jury indicted Christopher K. Smith, 28, of Cincinnati for filing at least five fraudulent tax returns between February 2012 and June 2012.

The indictment filed Wednesday accuses Smith of obtaining names and Social Security numbers, primarily of deceased children, and using that information to file the returns. Smith listed the individuals as either taxpayers or dependents, according to U. S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart.

Investigators learned what was going on when family members of those involved went to file legitimate returns and found out claims were already submitted.

Stewart says the suspect claimed at least $16,310 in falsified tax refunds over the five-month period.

Fred Alverson, information officer for the U.S. attorney's office, said they can confirm Smith used the names of people from Indiana, Georgia, Arizona, Kansas and New York. They're looking into whether he filed other such returns.

The investigation is ongoing, and includes figuring out how Smith gained access to the personal information of the persons he pretended to be.

Alverson said the suspect does not have a job that gives him access to things like birthdays and Social Security numbers.

Smith has been charged with four counts of wire fraud, each punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and five counts of aggravated identity theft. Each count of aggravated identity theft is punishable by two years in prison.

If convicted, he would have to serve at least two of those years consecutive to any time served for the fraud.

A date hasn't been set for Smith's initial court appearance.

The suspect is at the Butler County Correctional Center on an unrelated charge.

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