FL probation officer accused of milking records for tax refund fraud scheme

Elaine Silvestrini reports that Corey A. Coley Sr. a probation officer for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), was arrested Thursday and charged with conspiring to defraud the federal government. Investigators said he worked with at least two other people who filed tax returns claiming more than $1.6 million in fraudulent tax refunds. One of them was found in possession of information from at least 90 people under DJJ supervision.

What’s somewhat concerning about the case is that Coley was reportedly able to access juveniles’ information without being traced:

The Department of Juvenile Justice maintains a database of current and former probationers but only recorded when someone accessed a specific probationer’s full report. The system, though, did not record when someone logged in and conducted a search.

If a user conducted a search, according to the complaint, the search results showed the name, Social Security numbers and dates of birth of the individuals who matched the search terms. According to the complaint, that’s how Coley was able to get personal information of probationers without being tracked.

Read more on Tampa Bay Online.

This is not the first time we’ve seen the DJJ database misused for tax refund fraud scheme. In September 2010, I noted a similar case. I think one can reasonably ask why the agency didn’t harden its access controls and security after the first report and why this was able to happen again.

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