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IRS employee charged with identity theft

FRESNO, Calif. » A former IRS employee in Central California was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing the identities of her co-workers and opening credit card accounts to go on shopping sprees with friends, federal prosecutors said.

Viririana Hernandez, a 30-year-old Fresno County woman, and three of her friends stole $1.2 million from 160 people, many IRS employees, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said. In a 15-page indictment, prosecutors say the four bought home goods, jewelry and clothes. They created credit cards under others’ names and bought gift cards to continue their crimes without detection, prosecutors said.

An attorney representing Hernandez could not immediately be reached.

A grand jury indicted the four Fresno County residents on 23 counts, charging them with conspiracy, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The others named in court papers are Roberto Martinez, 33; Lilliana Gonzalez, 32; and Daniel Miranda, 25.

Hernandez worked at the IRS from 2012 to 2014, prosecutors said, and she had access to coworkers’ personal information. Other victims had their identities stolen after applying to work at a restaurant chain, prosecutors said. Each of the four faces up to 30 years in prison with a $250,000 fine.

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