Woman says tax preparer stole her state refund check

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Regina Riley finally got her money back now she wants an apology.

"It is too hard for people and that is a lot of money to be missing," she said.

Riley has become a bit of a private detective these days after she claims a tax preparer at American Tax on Dequindre in Detroit stole her state refund check.

The manager slammed the door refusing to answer FOX 2's questions by phone or in person.

Riley says it all started last month when she filed her taxes. She received her federal tax return, but she never received her state refund.

She contacted the state and then the bank handling the checks out of California, which told her the $1,300 check, had already been cashed.

"The forgery department ended up calling me and I said can you send me a copy of check because I know whoever cashed it has to stamp the back of the check," said Riley. "He sent me a copy there it is, it was plain as day. My signature - but it wasn't my signature - it was a signature but it wasn't mine."

Side by side, you can see the difference in the signatures. Also revealed - where it was cashed.

Riley headed to Ray's Check Cashing in Detroit. Owner Ray Joswiak claims the tax preparer is a regular customer and he didn't think twice about cashing the check.

When he found out, he returned the money to Riley right away.

"I just want to keep her happy, it's an oversight," Joswiak said. "I apologized for it."

Riley filed a police report and a complaint with the IRS and has been told the tax preparer has now been fired.

She says now she just wants an apology from the person who thought it was okay to steal from this single mother who is just trying to make ends meet.

"I trusted you with my personal information to do my taxes and you stole from me," she said. "I want to know why?"

FOX 2: "Did she finally admit it?"

"No," Riley said. "She never admitted it. I am a single mother. I can't be walking around here just giving away $1,300.

FOX 2 started working this story last week and is waiting to hear from the owner of American Tax. Riley is worried that there may be other victims out there.

For those looking for their refunds, you can contact the Michigan Department of Treasury, the where's my refund page where you can check the status of it or file a complaint.