Olathe woman victimized in tax scam believes company should have never hired preparer

OLATHE, Kan. -- It's been a tough couple of months for Rachel Nunez- Harrison and her husband Henry. He's fighting lung cancer and she recently lost her job, all reasons why they were counting on a nearly $4,000 tax refund to catch up on bills.

But that money won't be coming any time soon. Mrs. Nunez-Harrison, of Olathe, said she was notified that an employee of the tax preparation firm Jackson Hewitt had stolen her identity, filed a fake return and kept her refund. Mrs. Nunez- Harrison showed FOX 4 Problem Solvers copies of the fake return with her forged signature.

How did someone from Jackson Hewitt steal Mrs. Nunez-Harrison's identity? Mrs Nunez-Harrison had been a customer of Jackson Hewitt for 10 years.

"I immediately panicked because she has my information - my socials, my childrens' socials, my home address," Mrs Nunez-Harrison said.

She said she isn't the only Jackson Hewitt customer whose identity was stolen. Olathe police confirm they've taken reports from multiple victims. Mrs. Nunez-Harrison said she was told there could be at least 11. What has Mrs. Nunez-Harrison most upset is that she believes the employee should never have been hired.

"Do they even do a background check, I don't know," Mrs. Nunez-Harrison asked.

She has filed a civil suit against the tax preparer and the former employee saying Jackson Hewitt should have known its now former employee -- Julie Marie Reavis -- had a lengthy history of financial problems. Reavis was facing 10 felony counts in Kansas for stealing more than $30,000 last year from a Merriam flooring company where she worked as an office manager.

FOX 4 Problem Solvers discovered Reavis' problems date as far back as 2007 when she was convicted of forgery in Joplin. That conviction was wiped from her record in 2010 after she completed probation, but still turns up on some databases.

Problem Solvers tried to talk to Reavis at her Johnson County apartment, but no one answered the door. She also didn't return phone calls.

We also tried repeatedly to talk to Jackson Hewitt -- both the local franchise owner and the corporate headquarters -- to find out how it screens employees and what measures it takes to protect the information of customers. We never heard back.

Mrs. Nunez-Harrison said she has had the same difficulty getting answers or getting anyone from Jackson Hewitt to repay the money from her stolen tax refund. She's frustrated that a company she trusted with her financial documents for a decade now won't even return her calls.