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Des Moines man's missing refund ended up in account of H&R Block employee

March 28, 2009

The mystery of Harry Rios' missing tax refund is solved.

The Des Moines man's missing refund received national attention when a local H&R Block mistakenly entered the wrong bank account on the direct-deposit line of his return. The owner of the wrong account promptly spent it.

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The preparer suggested Mr. Rios call the police, but it turns out the account owner was near at hand. The Des Moines Register takes up the story:

Police Detective Terry Mitchell said Rios' tax preparer took the bank account number from one of Rios' deposit slips but did not get the routing number for his bank. Advertisement

The tax preparer looked for a sheet with routing numbers on it but could not find it, Mitchell said. She asked fellow staffers if anyone had an account with U.S. Bank and a secretary said she did. The tax preparer copied down the routing number from her checking account but also copied down the secretary's bank account number by mistake.

Oops! Didn't the secretary notice?

Police said the secretary called the bank to inquire about the money and was told that it was a legitimate deposit. She then spent the money on bills. Now she will have to pay it back.

The police believe that it was an honest mistake, and no wrongdoing was involved.

The Moral: If you check any number on your tax return twice before signing it, check the bank account and routing numbers for your refund direct deposit. That goes double for preparers.

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