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Bergen ex-con gets 5 years in federal pen for using names of cancer patients for tax refunds


YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Jason Eaton was sent to federal prison for five years today for using the names and Social Security numbers of adult and pediatric cancer patients to scam the IRS out of more than $200,000 in tax refunds — a scheme uncovered when Englewood police found him and an accomplice carrying hundreds of fake IDs and a refund check issued to one of the victims.

Jason Eaton (courtesy NJ DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS)

All told, Eaton and an accomplice electronically filed 163 bogus returns with the IRS for the tax years 2005 through 2008, claiming $507,000 in refunds, the government said.

They got the names and Social Security Numbers of adults from records at doctor’s offices, hospitals, nursing homes, health clinics, government offices, and other places in New York where accomplices had access to records.

“Several of the minors’ identifiers stolen in the scheme corresponded to records of pediatric cancer and other hospital and health clinic patients in New York City,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

The refunds were sent to addresses in the Bronx, including Eaton’s accomplice’s house, his neighbors’ residences and his child’s mother’s home, Fishman said.

Eaton, 29, of Englewood, who spent nearly three years in state custody for credit card fraud and drug dealing, formally admitted in federal court in Newark last year that he took advantage of Earned Income Credits (“EICs”) and Additional Child Tax Credits (“Child Tax Credits”) to lower-income taxpayers with minor children or other qualifying dependents.

EICs and Child Tax Credits reduce eligible taxpayers’ tax liabilities and, in certain cases, entitle eligible taxpayers to tax refunds.

Eaton was a known low-level street dealer of marijuana and crack when Englewood police stopped him and his accomplice, Steven Nelson, for a traffic violation on Feb. 11, 2009. The men were carrying bogus tax documents, victim information, counterfeit credit cards and driver’s licenses, and a tax refund check in the name of a victim, police said.

Flash drives held personal information of about 280 people, along with Social Security card templates, commercial pay stubs and dozens of driver’s licenses with their names, federal prosecutors later said.

Nelson, who worked at a tax service preparing and filing income tax returns, admitted his role in the conspiracy and appeared ready to testify for the government against Eaton. U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh, who sentenced Eaton today in Newark, sent Nelson to federal prison for 10 years last month.

Fishman credited special agents of  the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Unit, as well as special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, with help from the FBI’s Newark and New York field offices. He also lauded Englewood police for making such a large, important case possible.

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