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Woman behind alleged homeless tax scam in court

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Federal prosecutors want to send an Atlanta tax preparer to prison.

Prosecutors say if there's anyone who should have known better, it's Cora Ford. Not just because the woman charged with stealing the personal information of homeless people owns a tax preparation service, but because the year before the government says she committed the same crimes that a FOX 5 I-Team hidden camera investigation had exposed earlier.

Homeless men and women across the city told us Ford advertised a homeless grant program. She promised that if you give her your name, birthday and Social Security number, she'd give you $200 cash, supposedly paid by the government.

However, there never was a government homeless grant.

After they applied for that phantom grant, several homeless applicants discovered that someone had filed a fake tax return in their name with fake dependents, collecting, on average, refunds of $2,000.

Federal prosecutors have identified 10 new victims, totaling more than $20,000.

Portions of the FOX 5 I-Team video were aired during the trial. A defense attorney said that the homeless people provided fake information to Ford.

The government pointed out that Ford listed one of the homeless people as a dependent -- a brother -- on her personal income tax forms one year.  That man said that he had never met her before.

A jury is set to resume deliberating the case on Friday. Ford faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the 30 charges.

CLICK THE VIDEO ABOVE TO WATCH FOX 5 I-TEAM REPORTER RANDY TRAVIS' REPORT!

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