Georgia teen accused of running $20M tax scam

A 19-year-old accused of attempting to steal over $20 million from the state of Georgia has been arrested and put in jail, just days after unrelated charges against him were dropped.

Charles Turner was at the center of an investigation started by the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) in early December, after investigators said they discovered an elaborate tax return scheme. Turner was arrested on Jan. 18 and sent to DeKalb County Jail on charges of criminal attempt to commit a felony and computer theft.

According to WSB-TV, state investigators said Turner created an online business called Riverdale X through which he sold Amazon electronics for an upcharge and collected money from customers who never received the products. They said he then opened an account with the DOR, making it seem like he was a profitable business that needed to pay state taxes.

“He actually set up a business, set up withholding accounts and sales tax accounts, and was overpaying by over $25 million on those accounts,” Josh Waites, chief investigator with the Georgia Department of Revenue, told the local Georgia outlet.

Waites didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment; however, he told WSB-TV that the money going into the DOR was coming directly from the bank accounts of Turner’s “customers.” He said the teen would then request a tax return in the same amount that he was overpaying to be put directly into his personal checking account.

The business caught the attention of the DOR because of the amount of money going into the system daily, as well as the amount that was quickly reversed because of fraudulent accounts. Police seized Turner’s hard drive in December.

Just two days prior to Turner’s Jan. 18 arrest, he was residing in Henry County Jail. There, he faced forgery charges for allegedly depositing over $60,000 in fraudulent checks to a SunTrust bank and walking out of another location with $18,000 in cash the following day. According to WSB-TV, an exchange between a Henry County investigator and the bank proved that the account was actually in Turner’s name, and the forgery charges wouldn’t stick.

According to jail records, Turner remained in custody as of Wednesday afternoon. His next court date has yet to be confirmed. Source