Tax documents with personal info found in East Naples dumpster

Published: August 28, 2017 6:21 PM EDT
Updated: August 28, 2017 7:47 PM EDT

EAST NAPLES, Fla. A box with files full of tax-related personal information from dozens of people was found in an open dumpster by U.S. 41.

A man, who declined to be identified, made the discovery last month while bicycling near the dumpster at a plaza in East Naples. The files were stuffed with unshreded forms containing Social Security numbers, driver’s license information and more.

The case is under review by the office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Collier County resident Jackie Dean, whose information was among the files, got a call from the man who made the discovery.

“I said, what type of documents, and he said I found your tax papers,” Dean said. “And I said, are you serious?'”

Dean arranged to get the documents from the man. She said she’d left them with a tax-preparation company called Tax Express 02 in 2015.

That company has since closed. The management company in charge of the dumpster confirmed Tax Express 02 rented office space there as recently as seven months ago. Phone numbers listed for Tax Express 02 no longer work.

It’s unclear whether they’ll face any charges. Tax Express 02 didn’t break any local laws, even though companies have an obligation to shred or get rid of documents appropriately, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said.

Tax preparers can be fined and even face federal prison time if convicted of recklessly disclosing tax information, according to the IRS.

Dean, whose information was there for the taking, insists Tax Express should be held accountable.

“People trusted them,” she said.