- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A former state employee pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing identities that were used to file fraudulent tax returns worth millions of dollars.

U.S. Attorney George Beck said 30-year-old Tamika Floyd of Salem pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government and aggravated identity theft.

According to her plea agreement, she stole the identities while working for the state Department of Public Health and then the state Department of Human Resources in Opelika in 2012 and 2013. Court documents say she turned over IDs that allowed co-conspirators to file 3,000 fraudulent tax returns claiming more than $7.5 million in refunds.

In her plea agreement, she said she was recruited into the conspiracy by another woman from east Alabama who faces trial on identity-theft charges in April. That case involves IDs from the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Samarria Dunson, director of the compliance office at the health department, said the department sent notices in June to people whose records may have been accessed. She said the department has also taken steps to secure information, including installing more auditing features to see who is accessing records and making sure employees have a job-related need to access information.

“You can’t go into a database and see large amounts of information and print large amounts of information,” she said Thursday.

Dunson said the Floyd case involved accessing records at least 10 years old. Many records involved children who would now be between 17 and 19, she said.

Floyd faces a mandatory sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft and could get up to 10 years for conspiracy.

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