CS Masthead

Montana Department Of Revenue Alerts Taxpayers To Tax Fraud From Identity Theft

Several attempts to file fraudulent tax returns have been detected for this year’s income tax season, the Montana Department of Revenue announced today. The fraudulent filings were recently discovered by the department’s fraud detection programs.  
“Basically, hackers have stolen people’s identities and filed fraudulent tax returns in order to steal refunds,” explained Department of Revenue director Mike Kadas. “The department is vigilant about stopping fraud and is taking extra care with all returns to look for signs of identity theft and fake filings. It is important for Montanans to know that the department’s computer systems have not been compromised and remain secure.”
Since this year’s tax season started Jan. 20, the department has already stopped $26,000 in fraudulent refunds. Last year, the department stopped approximately $1.5 million in fraudulent refunds.
The department will contact taxpayers who have been identified as victims of a fraudulent filing.
Taxpayers who are concerned about their tax refunds or that their personal tax information may have been compromised should:
•Log into the tax software you’ve used in previous years and change your username and password. Do not use usernames or passwords that you’ve used for other accounts or websites.
•If you log into your tax software and it says you’ve already filed for 2014, that’s an indication that your identity may have been stolen. If you think there is a problem with your tax software account, contact the software company immediately.
Due to the increase in fraudulent returns from ID theft, the department is thoroughly reviewing all returns before issuing refunds.
“We’re doing our due diligence and thank Montana taxpayers for their understanding as we work to keep their information safe,” said Kadas. “This has slowed down our process a little and we appreciate your patience if your refund takes a little longer to process this year.”
For more information about guarding against identity theft and what to do if you think you’re a victim, go to the Montana Department of Justice’s identity theft website at dojmt.gov/consumer/for-consumers/identity-theft/ or their Office of Consumer Protection at 800-481-6896 or 406-444-4500.

Community Fund Donates nearly $7K

The Community Fund Drive has come to an end and the Culbertson Women’s Club that organizes the drive every year, expressed gratitude to all who donated to our local organizations, and to First Community Bank in Culbertson for collecting donations.
The Culbertson Women’s Club announced that $6,965 was distributed. The following use of the funding has been announced: Culbertson Splash Pad $1,160; Culbertson Fire Department, $1,350; Culbertson Food Bank, $960; Culbertson Ambulance, $1,212; Roosevelt Memorial Healthcare Foundation, $760; Culbertson Museum, $680; and Culbertson Area Community Foundation, $843.

Students Talk About Underage Drinking

 

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Recently Culbertson High School Jobs for Montana’s Graduates [JMG] students met with Rich Jespersen, the project coordinator, for a fun and informative prevention conversation about underage drinking and drug use. The project is creating a statewide social media campaign with a mission to cut through the social media noise and clutter with inspirational, “Sticky” prevention messaging that teens will like and share. When asked if anyone present knew someone who lost their life to underage drinking or drug use, everyone raised their hands.  (Submitted photo)

Sheriff Takes Over Poplar Police Services

The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office is taking over law enforcement services in Poplar with the disbanding of the municipal police department. The county commissioners approved an interlocal law enforcement agreement with Poplar during a special commission meeting Friday, Jan. 30.
The commissioners and Sheriff Jason Frederick said the Poplar City Council had agreed to the RCSO providing services.
The commission approved a resolution allowing Frederick and commission presiding officer Duane Nygaard to sign an interlocal agreement with Poplar municipal officials for the remainder of 2015 and a separate agreement for 2016. The 2015 agreement was set to begin Sunday, Feb. 1, or as soon as the Poplar City Council approves it. Both parties signed the agreement Monday, Feb. 2.
“They made a recommendation for us to take over,” Frederick said.
“There is a substantial amount in the city budget for law enforcement,” Nygaard said. “Poplar has agreed to turn over their [law enforcement] budget.”
Frederick said that budget is $210,000 annually.
Frederick said two members of the Poplar City Council contacted him about providing law enforcement services.
“They just can’t field a police force,” he said.
That includes hiring and retaining certified officers.
The Poplar Police Department recently got down to one member, a police chief who had been hired recently.
Poplar resident Don Gudgell said there has been constant turnover with Poplar police, with residents relying on the RCSO and FPTDLJ for protection.
“He was able to hire a couple of guys who were uncertified,” Frederick said.
Both left the department within a short time. One is now working for the FPTDLJ.
Frederick said the funding would allow the RCSO to provide deputies and vehicles for Poplar.
Two deputies will be hired and the RCSO will take over a small office the Poplar Police Department used.
The Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice provides law enforcement services in Poplar, however Montana law mandates that incorporated cities maintain police services. Contracted services with county sheriffs are permitted.
The RCSO has been contracting to provide services for eastern Roosevelt County communities including Culbertson and Bainville.
Questions have been raised recently about the level of funding from cities on the east side of the county with increasing crime due to Bakken oil exploration.
“We can go to cities on the east end that are paying and say, ‘Look what Poplar is doing,’” commissioner Gary Macdonald said.
He added that if the county is proactive rather than reactive, maybe the RCSO could do more about the crime problem.
The RCSO has made numerous drug-related felony arrests in the Culbertson and Bainville areas, including violent offenders. There have been recent incidents of violence directed toward deputies. Fifteenth District Court in Wolf Point has been jammed with felony drug cases from the east end of the county and the jail has a majority inmate population of drug offenders that are not from the area.

CHS Speech And Drama Place At State

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The Culbertson High School Speech and Drama team competed at the state meet in Ennis, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 30-31. All six CHS competitors competed in the semi-final round; and Dominica Granada, Chase Kilzer and Tessa Larsen all competed in finals, as well. Granada placed third MPA; Larsen finished sixth in Humorous Solo; Kilzer finished seventh in Original Oratory; McKade Mahlen finished ninth in Impromptu; and Michaela Cathey finished 10th in Mime. The team brought home third place honors, a trophy in Class C Speech and eighth in Drama.


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