Prison Officials Suspect Inmates of Scams at Newport Unit

August 12, 2003 - Posted at: 11:39 a.m. CDT

NEWPORT, Ark. -- Prison officials are investigating whether inmates at the women's McPherson Unit in Newport used fake identities to collect tax returns and take out bogus mortgages over the Internet.

Dina Tyler, a spokeswoman for the state Correction Department, said prisoners may have collected thousands dollars in the scams.

Officials have already isolated one inmate at the prison and notified the U.S. Postal Inspection Service division.

Investigators are trying to determine in any inmates had any outside help to secure loans and collect money, how the inmates could have gotten documents to get a loan, and how they could have filed fraudulent W-2 forms.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.