Boone Co. IRS worker sentenced for stealing identities

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - A federal judge has sentenced a financial technician in the Internal Revenue Source's Boone County office to 28 months in prison for unlawfully accessing an agency computer to obtain personal information about taxpayers.

U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar on Thursday sentenced Joy Fox, 33, of Independence for aiding and abetting mail fraud and one count of aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. Under federal law, Fox will have to serve at least 85 percent of her prison sentence.

Fox pleaded guilty in September 2013 and acknowledged that as part of her official duties she had access to the Integrated Data Retrieval System. It's a computer system that maintains taxpayer information including names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth of taxpayers. Fox's authorized access to the computer system was limited to official business use only.

Fox admitted she used the system without authorization to steal the identities of taxpayers. She provided the information to her co-defendant, Patrick Sharpe, 23, who lived in Tallahassee, Fla.

Sharpe specifically requested that Fox obtain the personal information of individuals 65 or older who were eligible for Social Security benefits. The defendants had planned for Sharpe to apply online for debit cards using the stolen identities and fund the cards with those individuals' Social Security benefits.

Sharpe has admitted that he used false addresses in the application process so the cards would be delivered to locations where they could be picked up and used without the knowledge of the individuals whose identities had been stolen. Investigators discovered the scheme before the defendants could use the victims' debit cards.

Sharpe pleaded guilty in October 2013 to aiding and abetting mail fraud and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft. Sharpe will be sentenced Feb. 20.

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