Man accused of keeping erroneously deposited tax refund

A Laguna Beach man has been arrested and charged on suspicion of failing to return a $110,000 tax refund that was accidentally deposited into his account.

Stephen Reginald McDow, 34, was arrested Tuesday on one felony count of theft of lost property with an enhancement for taking more than $65,000, according to an Orange County district attorney's press release.

The victim filed her 2009 taxes with her accountant and requested that the refund, which she expected to be $110,000, be deposited into her account, according to the release.

After not receiving the refund by December 2010, the victim asked her attorney to double check and realized the money had been deposited in an account she closed in 2004. The account number had been reassigned to McDow.

According to the release, the victim gave McDow instructions on how to deposit the money back into her account. McDow is accused of failing to deposit the victim's funds and e-mailing the victim's attorney March 6 to say he had spent the majority of the money to pay a student loan, foreclosure debt and a car loan.

On March 16 the victim sent the defendant a letter with more directions on payment. He is accused of not responding to the letter and several other efforts to obtain the money. The victim contacted Santa Ana police shortly afterward.

The suspect could face a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted.

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