Stephen Reginald McDow Sentenced in Tax Refund Theft Caper

Categories: Crime-iny
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Stephen Reginald McDow
Remember Stephen Reginald McDow? Our very own Marisa Gerber wrote about him in July 2011, back when he got busted for running off with $110,000 that had mistakenly been deposited in his bank account. Turned out the cash belonged to a woman prosecutors identified as Michelle D. The whopping sum was in fact her tax refund and she'd made the mistake of providing the feds with an old bank account number which had seen been assigned to McDow. By the time she and the bank realized the error, McDow had spent most of the cash.


See also:
Stephen Reginald McDow Charged With Stealing Money That Mistakenly Wound Up In His Bank Account
Rancho Santiago Community College Files Fraud Lawsuit Against Ex-Official Accused Of Stealing Low-Income Grants

Yesterday, the long arm of the law finally caught up with McDow when he received a sentence of 60 days in jail and 18 months of formal probation, along with an order to repay the money, although that, the DA says, he's already done. According to a comment left on Gerber's story last July, his family loaned him the money to do that.

The DA's press release on the sentencing also points out that while McDow never tried to hide his actions--he apparently emailed the victim and her attorney to say that he'd already spent the money--he did commit a crime by taking cash that didn't belong to him. After saying he'd already spent the funds, McDow stopped cooperating. "The defendant . . . [ignored] several attempts by the victim to get her money back," the press release states. "After unsuccessfully attempting to contact the defendant, Michelle D. reported the theft to [Santa Ana police], who investigated this case.

Only one mystery remains: Who is Michelle D's tax accountant and can he or she please do my taxes? I can think of a few things I could do with a $110,000 tax refund.

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7 comments
surfernot949
surfernot949

This sounds like BS to me. Mistakes happen and it seemed like there were many people at fault. He paid it back, that's all I care about. From the facts it seems that he was trying to do that from the start. 

949girl
949girl topcommenter

It would be pretty tempting to do what he did...tough call.  I think if he's repaid the money probation and jail time are unnecessary. 

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

 @949girl

 It would be a mistake to think the funds wouldn't be traced, easy paper trail.

 

I've never been put in that position, I would like to think I would do the right thing even if I thought odds of tracing the money would be low (find a bag full of money, say). On the other hand, if someone helped return my money to me I would share some of it, again, the right thing to do.

 

There are people out there that couldn't conceive of other people doing this, well folks, guess what, there are and there are examples on record. Not talking about you 949, I have no reason to think you're not a stand-up kind of person.

949girl
949girl topcommenter

 @BillxT  @949girl I've never been in this position either.  It would be tempting though.  $100K is a lot of money! However I would think about the paper trail etc.  I'd probably return it because I'd have a guilty conscience and I'd worry about being found out and the stress alone would kill me and the fear of jail and charges.  I wouldn't feel guilty about the IRS making the mistake though as long as the woman received her refund.  When an institution is the victim it's easier to justify, but when an actual person is the victim then my conscience would come in.   I don't think he's a criminal in the sense that he didn't go out scamming people proactively, it kind of came with him and tested his honesty.  I think by his repayment he did the right thing legally in the end, even if it was because he had to. 

surfernot949
surfernot949

@BillxT @949girl I google him and from the looks of it he is in Boston. From what I could find. So I am not sure your statement is supported by fact, Bill. 

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

 @949girl

 "... along with an order to repay the money ...", without more info can only conclude he returned it because he was told to , not because he thought it was right. His going into hiding indicates he had a hint that it could have repercussions(sp?).

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