ALLEN PARK, Mich. (FOX 2) - An Allen Park tax preparer is accused of doing more than just preparing his clients' taxes. He's accused of creating more than 100 phony unemployment claims.
Christopher Niebel allegedly used them to receive $849,000 in pandemic-related unemployment benefits.
In the early days of the pandemic when a record number of people in the state were trying to file for unemployment benefits, federal investigators say an Allen park tax preparer was filing fraudulent claims.
According to court documents Niebel was responsible for more than a hundred fraudulent accounts - and his name was on at least 28 bank accounts where money was deposited.
He was known as "Tax Guy Chris" but his downtown Allen Park business is now closed.
Niebel has been formally charged. Investigators say he stole people’s identities to file these bogus unemployment claims - some of them didn't even live in Michigan.
Authorities did not reveal how Niebel was able to successfully access unemployment benefits when some people who were legitimately filing were unable to do so for months.