Former tax service employee allegedly stole from customer
Crime and Courts

Former tax service employee allegedly stole from customer

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RACINE — A former Liberty Tax employee allegedly stole from a customer by rerouting their tax refund into debit cards he controlled.

Damarthanetz D. Patterson, 28, of the 1300 block of Orange Street is charged with felony counts of forgery, personal identity theft for financial gain and theft of movable property with value between $2,500 to $5,000; and five misdemeanor counts of concealing stolen property valuing less than $2,500.

According to a criminal complaint:

On Feb. 21, 2019, a Racine police investigator responded to Liberty Tax Service at 1504 State St. regarding a fraud complaint. The victim said that Patterson had allegedly routed her money into Patterson’s own account instead of routing it to her account.

The victim stated that on Feb. 6 of that year, she went to Liberty Tax to have her income taxes processed and was helped by Patterson, a staff accountant. The victim provided Patterson with tax documents and Patterson prepared the victim’s taxes. Once the processing was complete, Patterson informed the victim that she was to receive a return of $6,468 and after Liberty Tax fees it would be $5,175. Patterson then provided the woman with an envelope containing a Netspend card and told her that the card would be loaded with her tax return money.

When the victim attempted to use the card, she was informed that the card was not registered and she would need to contact Liberty Tax Service. When she spoke again with Patterson, she was told that she would need to wait for a text from the company informing her that the money was in the account. She waited a few days and never got the text. When the victim again contacted Netspend on Feb. 20, she learned that the money went into an account ending with a different pin number instead the one she was given and that the card with her money had been used at different businesses for a total of $477 in expenditures.

The investigator then spoke to the Liberty Tax manager, who said that over the course of the past couple of weeks their company had experienced a rash of fraud activity allegedly perpetrated by Patterson. The manager believed seven customers had been victimized and all reported their money had been rerouted to different Netspend and Greendot cards that Patterson controlled. The manager said that Patterson was fired on Feb. 7.

On July 18, the officer obtained subpoenaed Netspend records and learned that the account set up by Patterson used the name and personal information of the victim with her name, social security number, date of birth, address and phone number attached to them. There was an email address in the records but it was not the victim’s and a login ID that the victim had never seen before. It was determined that the card was illegally used from Feb. 6 through Feb. 20 and the account was created from Liberty Tax.

The victim was asked about specific purchases and shown photos of the suspect to see if she knew anything about the purchases or who was in the photos. The first purchase was a transaction through JailAtm.com and the second purchase was for tickets from Ticketmaster for “Disney On Ice.” The victim said she knew nothing about the two purchases.

Three photos of a person walking into Kwik Trip on 4924 Spring St. on Feb. 6, 13 and 20, and two photos of a person walking into Walgreens on 6125 Durand Ave. on Feb. 13 and 14 of 2019 were reportedly identified by the victim as Patterson.

Liberty Tax paid the victim the money that was lost, which totaled to approximately $4,175.

As of March 18, Patterson is out of custody on a $1,000 bond, online court records show. An initial court appearance was adjourned until May 5 due to the COVID-19 national emergency, court records indicate.

Court records did not indicate why it took a year after the alleged offenses for charges to be filed against Patterson.

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