MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis police are investigating thousands of documents containing personal information in dumpsters at a Whitehaven area Mo' Money Taxes business. Now the tax preparation business is the focus of a federal investigation by the IRS for identity theft.
Officers were called to the embattles tax service's location on the 4100-block of Elvis Presley on Monday, Feb. 20 after witnesses discovered three open dumpsters filled with documents, some dating back to 2005. The files were filled with customers' social security numbers, driver's licenses, phone numbers and addresses.
ABC 24 News was told this is a civil and a criminal case. Officers said tossing those files broke several privacy laws companies are supposed to respect to prevent identity theft.
The IRS wouldn't comment but said the matter has been turned over to the Treasury Inspector General.
Mo' Money Taxes Co-owner Markey Granberry stated the lease on the storefront had ended Friday, Feb. 17, and blamed the building's landlord for dumping the documents.
The company later released the following statement through their publicist:
Mo’ Money Taxes had already given notice to the leasing manager of their office that they would be vacating on Saturday, February 11, 2012. They took out large furniture items, and other personal items. All of their staff was instructed to leave any files in the location. Their office manager was also instructed to arrange for “Shred-It” services to arrive at the location, on Monday, February 13, 2012, to properly shred all documents.
At no time did anyone involved with the Mo’ Money Taxes throw any boxes of personal, client information outside of the office. All parties at Mo’ Money Taxes are under the impression that the leasing company must have ordered a clean out of our former office space before our contracted services with “Shred It” could arrive.
The release also contained a copy the office's agreement for shredding service dated Feb. 13.
Regardless of how the documents were dumped, investigators maintain the company is still ultimately responsible.
Mo' Money Taxes came under fire after thousands of tax refund checks were delayed to their customers. Granberry stated a delay by the IRS along with a computer glitch were to blame, but customers stormed offices for over two weeks demanding their refund checks.
Six locations of Mo' Money Taxes in Norfolk, Virginia were shut down and had equipment seized, prompting U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) to call for an investigation of the business by the U.S. Justice Department. Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) echoed the call for a federal investigation as complaints mounted in the Memphis area.
Memphis-based Mo' Money Taxes has around 300 offices in 17 states.