LAS VEGAS - A local couple who filed their income taxes eight months ago are still waiting for their refund check. Irritated with the long wait, they contacted 8 on Your Side which uncovered a bigger problem.
Tulia Lonardo crochets holiday gifts for her loved ones every year. It's an affordable alternative to buying gifts. Saving money is very important to Tulia and her husband Vito.
This couple has been waiting for a $2,740 tax refund for months. They filed in March with a certified public accountant. They requested an electronic refund check, but eight months later, they still don't have the money.
"In the meantime, I struggle to pay for groceries," Tulia said.
Desperate, they turned to 8 on Your Side for help. 8 News NOW spoke with the IRS to try and resolve the matter. Instead of getting the Lonardos their cash, 8 on Your Side uncovered a much bigger problem.
"Somebody filed before we did under my husband's Social Security number," Tulia said.
Vito's identity had been stolen. Neither his accountant nor the IRS bothered to tell him. "That's not right," Vito said.
No one had to tell them according to Gregory Smith with the attorney general's office. "It's on the individual to protect their I.D.," he said.
Smith says the tax preparer was under no obligation to let the Lonardos know this happened.
8 on Your Side stepped in to help – getting the IRS to flag the Lonardos' tax return.
"They are working on it, and it's going to take probably another 100 days," Tulia said. That means they might not see their refund until next year.
In the meantime, they're cutting back - growing food and raising chickens in their yard. They are also still working to get Vito's stolen identity back.
8 on Your Side put the Lonardos in touch with the attorney general's office, the Social Security Administration and the local police to file the necessary reports to reclaim Vito's identity.
If you have a consumer complaint you want investigated, contact 8 on Your Side at 650-1907 or email us.