Thief Steals Tax Records for Identity Fraud

February 3, 2007

By Kari Huston

Eight hundred people are in jeopardy of having their credit ruined, because thieves in the night stole their personal information from a Cassopolis tax preparer.

"I come around here and my computer is gone. My hard drive is gone. I went hysterical," recalls Carlotta Kirstein. "I screamed,'I've been robbed!'"

Kirstein owns CTS tax service on Highway M-62. Since 1985 she has been preparing returns for clients in Cassopolis, Edwardsburg, Elkhart, Ohio, Virginia, Illinois and Washington.

She believes someone knew her computer possessed valuable information. "I had money in here. I had checks and nothing was taken, just the computer," says Kirstein. "If it would only concern me, if it would only affect my life it would be fine, but this is 800 people's lives. That's kind of sad. All their information is on there, bank accounts routing numbers, birthdays, social security numbers, addresses, everything is on there."

Between 1:00 a.m. and 3 a.m. a neighbor saw headlights in the CTS parking lot. Footprints in the snow lead police to believe that more than one person broke in the back door. "We're urging anyone who had an account with CTS to contact the credit bureaus and put a fraud alert on, as well as contact their banking institutions," suggests Captain Lindon Parrish of the Cass County Sheriff's Department.

"I'm putting flags on my accounts," says CTS client Vicki Vaughn. "I have to change some of the accounts right now because they said they can not do it over the phone."

Carlotta is offering a $5,000 reward to help catch the thieves. If those people are watching Carlotta would like to say, "Shame on you! How can you do this to somebody else? How can you do this?" And to anyone who may know who did this, "please come forward," she pleads. "Please tell, too many lives depend on this."

main page ATTRITION feedback