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IRS worker faces theft charge
Oct 28, 2004 12:00 am
An Internal Revenue Service employee is charged with theft for allegedly obtaining the retirement benefits of her ex-husband, who learned of the crime when the IRS demanded back taxes on the funds.
"I've never had a case like this," Wilson County Sheriff's Department Detective Lt. Ricky Knight said.
Patricia Stowe Hoard, 57, formerly of Mt. Juliet, was indicted earlier this month on three counts of theft over $1,000. She was released on her own recognizance after being booked at the Wilson County Jail, Knight said.
He said an investigation into Hoard opened when her ex-husband filed a complaint with authorities after IRS auditors contacted him claiming he owed back taxes on his retirement income.
"He told them he hadn't been receiving any benefits, that he was still working," Knight said.
He said investigators then determined Hoard had been receiving her ex-husband's retirement checks from January 1997 through September 2003.
"At times she was getting three checks a month," Knight remarked.
He said the checks were for "varying amounts" but estimated the total at $19,000.
Hoard "somehow got the paperwork filed to start his retirement checks coming in," explained Knight, who said the scam may have continued if not for the suspect's own co-workers at the IRS.
"He didn't have any idea what was going on until the IRS auditors called him and told him he owed back taxes on his retirement," Knight said. "It was a shock to him."
He said the victim, perhaps understandably, was "pretty irate" over the thefts.
"You can't blame him," Knight said. "Not only could he have lost his benefits, he could have ended up with a lot of trouble with the IRS over this."
He said officials described Hoard as a "customer service representative" for the IRS.
"It's my understanding if somebody called in with some kind of tax question, her department handled that," Knight said.
He said Hoard, who recently moved from Mt. Juliet to Nashville, may still be employed by the agency.
"Nobody has notified us that she's no longer working there," the detective remarked.
IRS Spokesperson Dan Boone declined comment Wednesday.
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14 or by e-mail at email@example.com.