ID theft stings Captain D's franchisee

The Internal Revenue Service is investigating a case of stolen identity in Roswell – only the victim was not an individual, but a business, Channel 2 Action News reported.

The owner of Seagate Foods, which operates Captain D’s seafood restaurants in metro Atlanta, notified authorities that someone apparently had gotten hold of his company’s taxpayer identification number, Roswell police said.

The fraudsters created more than 100 fake W-2 forms to report in excess of $4 million in nonexistent salaries to state and federal agencies, authorities said. It likely was a scheme to collect fraudulent tax refunds, they said.

In the end, Seagate was left owing more than $800,000 in payroll taxes.

Such a scam is “very uncommon, but it does happen,” Dave Murray, a Roswell certified public accountant, told Channel 2.

Murray, who is not connected to the case, likened the crime to identity theft, but for a business.

"The IRS and the state are generally going to believe that W-2 when they receive it,” he said. And the only way a business owner would find out he had been victimized would be when “the IRS would come say, ‘Hey, you owe us all this money. Come on, pay up.’”

“That company would be liable for the whole thing,” Murray said.

A spokesman for the Social Security Administration said his office is working with the IRS to investigate the case. Attempts by Channel 2 to contact the Captain D’s franchise owner were unsuccessful.

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