Wondering where their stimulus money went, crowd converges on local business
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7
AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Some were expecting relief from their stimulus check today, but people who filed their taxes through a business with a history of legal complaints are worried their stimulus money was being withheld.
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office and the IRS arrived at Citi Tax Financial to investigate, but they found no wrongdoing. And a hold-up with money may be a problem for tax preparers all over the country.
Dozens of families were here saying they got a notification their stimulus was deposited but when they looked at the account it went to, they say it was not their account. That’s why they showed up in numbers at Citi Tax.
Lieutenants questioned the owner inside the business around 2 p.m.
“We don’t believe this was a scam," a Richmond County deputy said.
The owner, Yonathan Michaels, later came out to tell the crowd it was all a misunderstanding and that he was not withholding their money. He says he got a third party company called Tax Advantage to help handle accounts. He they created new account numbers for where the stimulus would go to.
RCSO told us this explanation checks out. Adding, regardless of the confusion, families should see their stimulus money in up to 7 days.
However, many are still skeptical as they feel financially strained trying to provide for their family.
“I’m without work, but I have kids," Christmas Williams said. "They ain’t getting no smaller, they’re getting bigger. So this money is what’s helping us out to keep going throughout this whole COVID-19 situation."
“I feel like it’s a blessing anyway to get this money so to make is seem like what it is now—it’s crazy," Shakira Jones said. "I have kids that I have to take care of, so I have to on a daily basis regardless of any money coming in so when money is coming in to help and my babies, I’m ready to get it."
The Citi Tax clients tell News 12 they are distrustful of this situation because they say they’ve had previous issues with this company when they first filed taxes.
Nationwide, tax preparers are facing similar questions from their customers. Across the country, tax businesses are being confronted by those saying the company has their stimulus money. But, according to the IRS, that is not the case. Tax preparers don’t have the money because it has not been released to them.
It’s generating concerns from the public since they’ve received notifications that their stimulus has been deposited, although it may really take several days for them to actually receive it.
But RCSO found because the stimulus disbursement was an unprecedented situation there was a lot panic from not knowing what’s going on.
Deputies stressed that Citi Tax was not withholding stimulus money and families will receive the money in the coming days to their accounts.
Citi Tax says those who filed taxes with them can expect their stimulus money in up to seven days.