Al Behrman, AP
In this Nov. 6, 2008 file photo, a customer enters a Payroll Advance location in Cincinnati. Federal agents set up a check cashing front similar to this one in order to cut down on tax fraud in Miami.

Federal prosecutors plan to bring 40 defendants to court following an undercover operation aimed at busting tax fraud and identity theft, according to The Miami Herald.

Before the operation, the IRS issued more than $5.2 billion in tax refunds for 1.5 million tax returns that were filed using stolen identities, according to The Miami Herald, citing a recent report by the inspector general of the Treasury Department.

The operation took place after the Justice Department provided more leverage for officers to go after criminals suspected of tax-fraud on Oct. 1.

Tax scammers take advantage of the IRS not comparing W-2 income forms submitted by employers with numbers on the tax returns until long after tax season, according to the Miami Herald, citing a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

William Joseph, a former player for the Oakland Raiders, admitted in a plea agreement to cashing a Treasury Department refund check totaling $10,088.27 using someone else’s identity, according to The Miami Herald.

The check cashing store where he cashed the check was a front for the FBI operation.

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