Former tax office worker charged with $400K fraud

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(AP, ABC7) - A former employee of the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue has been charged with stealing more than $400,000.

Mary Ayers-Zander was charged Monday with wire fraud. Prosecutors say in court documents that from 2007 to 2011 Ayers-Zander accessed taxpayer accounts and entered fraudulent changes that resulted in credits. The vast majority of the refunds the individuals were credited with went directly to Ayers-Zander's bank accounts, though she also issued refunds that went to individuals.

“It’s certainly depressing for the citizens of the District of Columbia to see yet another public official charged with wrongdoing. There does seem to be a pattern and obviously with this case on the heels of en even bigger scandal in the same office,” said Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

In 2007, employee Harriet Walters scammed that same office for more than $48 million. After that scam, a system went into place to detect fraud, but a spokesperson for the D.C. chief financial officer says Ayers-Zander was savvy, so it took more time to detect suspicious transactions.

“I work with a lot of developing countries and i've often considered dc to be a developing country for,” said Larry Beyna.

Leon Williams called the corruption “ridiculous.” “They just need to police them a lot better. It's not the outside people, it's the inside people,” he said.

Ayers-Zander was charged by information, suggesting a plea deal is in the works.{ }She could face 20 years in prison. Her attorney Peter Fayne declined to comment when the Associated Press reached him by telephone Wednesday.