Three homes were raided Wednesday in an effort to crack down on rampant tax fraud in the Tampa Bay area.
They were at 2628 Bermuda Lake Drive in Brandon; 2111 49th Street in Tampa; and 3611 East Caracas Street in Tampa
At home, the raid caught an innocent woman by surprise.
Blendina Camel drove up to her home this morning and found tax fraud investigators searching through her house.
"My daughter was the one they gave the warrant to but she's not here," Camel said.
Federal, state, and local agents are investigating a tax fraud ring operating from three different locations.
Camel said agents didn't take anything from her home, but that wasn't the case at two other locations, including an apartment in Brandon where investigators removed boxes of evidence.
Corporal Bruce Crumpler with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says the tax fraud scheme has been going on for a few months. But in that time, they have been able to steal tens of thousands of dollars from the government.
"It's overwhelming, it's an epidemic. However, we are doing our best to put a stop to it," Crumpler said.
Last September, a $130 million case involving tax fraud was broken wide open in Tampa. Operation Rainmaker was a year-long investigation between several agencies, and 49 people were arrested in that sweep.
The Tampa Bay Area is the hub for tax fraud schemes in the state, investigators say. This new task force was formed to tackle the growing problem that detectives say doesn't go away once tax season is over.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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