Federal authorities busted a phony tax return filing scheme and arrested 14 suspects in New Jersey, New York and North Carolina.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman reviews recent charges against Trenton Tony Mack and six others. (Kevin McArdle, Townsquare Media NJ)

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman says the fourteen people, who were busted, exploited the electronic tax filing system using stolen social security numbers and stolen identities, mostly from people in Puerto Rico. They filed eight thousand refund claims to the tune of $65 million dollars. He says the ring actually collected about $11.3 million in refunds before the Fed came down on them.

Fishman says the suspects face charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Fishman also suggested that this attempt to tap the Treasury is only the tip of the iceberg. He says they were looking for $65 million, but this is a two-billion dollar problem across the country.

He says this kind of fraud steals from every taxpayer.

Everyone, who has been charged, faces one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. They also all have been charged with one count of theft from a Government, which carries a maximum penalty of ten years.

One of the co-conspirators is in North Carolina, one was arrested in Michigan, but they are largely located in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area.