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Buffalo woman charged with fraud in tax return scheme

A Buffalo woman has been charged with participating in a fraudulent tax return scheme, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced Monday.

Prosecutors said Kalah O. Bishop, 25, filed fraudulent federal income tax returns via the internet with the Internal Revenue Service. According to a criminal complaint, approximately 49 fraudulent returns were filed for the tax year 2013 with requested refunds totaling more than $200,000.

The complaint further states that the IRS issued refunds to prepaid debit cards in the names of numerous individuals. Bishop subsequently used the cards to make cash withdrawals at local automated teller machines, prosecutors said.

Bishop made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder and was released to await further action.

The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000 upon conviction.