Anchorage man charged with identity theft

Posted: Friday, August 30, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A federal grand jury has indicted an Anchorage man on charges that he stole the identities of prisoners and dead people in order to collect tax refunds.

The grand jury has charged Donald J. Briscoe with 25 counts of fraud against the U.S. government and 23 counts of identity theft.

Briscoe received at least one refund, for $10,490, from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in 1999, according to the indictment. But he used fake income tax returns 25 times, and asked for refunds each time, by stealing the identities of dead people and prisoners, the indictment said.

Briscoe, 40, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each fraud charge and three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each identity theft charge. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, Briscoe searched through Anchorage court documents for prisoners' files to find their names, birth dates and Social Security numbers. The indictment did not explain how Briscoe got the information on dead people.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Skrocki would not elaborate on Briscoe's alleged methods.

In 1998, Briscoe filed four phony income tax returns, using the names of three dead people and one prisoner, who made no money that year, according to the indictment. He used the employer identification number for Northway Power & Light of Northway and created phony W-2 Wage and Tax Statements for the four.

Any refund checks were directed to a personal mailbox Briscoe kept at Mail Boxes Etc., in Anchorage, the indictment said.

In 1999, Briscoe filed 21 bogus income tax returns, claiming the applicants worked for Java City in Sacramento, Calif., the indictment said. Any refunds were to be deposited in an account kept by Briscoe at KeyBank of Alaska.

That year, the Internal Revenue Service put $10,490.40 in Briscoe's bank account, according to the indictment. Briscoe withdrew $9,800 from the account in 2000.

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