Published: Sep 02, 2011 4:27 PM EDT

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Authorities in Tampa say they have busted a federal income tax fraud ring responsible for more than $100 million in losses.
    
Police Chief Jane Castor said Friday that the accused were using the Social Security numbers of dead people to file fraudulent federal tax returns and get refunds. One investigator called it an "epidemic" and said authorities believe the Tampa ring is the tip of a nationwide trend.
    
The Tampa Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/pD1wIZ ) that some of the accused even taught classes for others to learn how to perpetrate the scam. Castor said the criminals also threw filing parties where people got together to file fraudulent tax returns.
    
The investigation, which began a year ago, has resulted in 49 arrests so far.

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