Sunday, May 20, 2018
Public safety

Spring Hill tax preparer charged with using client information to process loans

BROOKSVILLE — A tax preparer for H&R Block has been charged with fraud, accused of using two customers' personal information to process loans against their federal income tax refunds, authorities say.

Melanie Jayne Johnson, 36, of Spring Hill used the names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers of the clients to process the loans of $900 and $982 and apply them to debit cards issued by H&R Block, the Hernando Sheriff's Office reported on Monday. Johnson, who worked in the H&R Block office at 174 Mariner Blvd. in Spring Hill, was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of criminal use of personal information. She was released from the Hernando County Detention Center later that day after posting $4,000 bail, records show.

The Sheriff's Office will ask the U.S. Attorney's Office to prosecute the case. If convicted, Johnson faces a minimum mandatory sentence of two years on each count. Her employment status was unclear Monday.

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