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US charges 25 in Fla. in ID theft, tax fraud case

MIAMI (AP) -- Federal authorities in South Florida say 25 people have been charged in the latest major identity theft and tax refund fraud sweep.

Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Thursday the suspects collectively tried to obtain $36 million in fraudulent tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service. One defendant is a school food service employee who is charged with stealing the identities of about 400 Miami-Dade County students.

Other defendants include a mail carrier and tax preparers.

South Florida is a national hub for identity theft used to file for tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds. The latest arrests come just before the April 15 deadline for filing federal tax returns.

Almost 300 people in South Florida have been charged with identity theft and tax fraud since 2012.

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