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St. Pete tax preparer steals his client's return

Posted at 5:31 PM, Feb 10, 2016

St. Petersburg police say a local tax preparer stole his client's return while working for a reputable agency.

Henry Swinton, 45, who went by Anthony Henry, faces charges related to identity theft.

Swinton worked for Liberty Tax, located on 49th Street North. His employer said he's worked in the tax business for six years and they never had a problem. According to police, Swinton forged a tax refund then filed for a tax refund loan to be placed on a debit card.

"Then he went around making purchases," St. Petersburg Police Department spokesman Rick Shaw said.

The total amount was a little more than $500. In this case, the customer wanted his refund sent to him as a check.

"And then all of a sudden he was alerted his refund was being withdrawn in a manner he did not authorize," Shaw said.

Shaw said the victim immediately notified Liberty Tax and police. Officers quickly narrowed Swinton down as a suspect and arrested him.

"Do just what the victim did in this case," Shaw said. "Stay on top of it. If you ask for your refund in a certain manner and all of the sudden you're alerted it's coming to you in a different manner, a red light should go off."

Liberty Tax said it's issued a full refund and filed paperwork with the IRS to make sure Swinton isn't allowed to work in the tax field again.

"Sometimes good companies can hire bad people." Shaw said.