ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan has signed a measure to create greater protections for Maryland taxpayers from tax fraud and identity theft.

It was one of the 207 bills the governor signed on Thursday.

The measure strengthens the ability of the comptroller’s office to stop tax fraud, protect taxpayer information and hold fraudulent filers and tax preparers accountable.

Comptroller Peter Franchot says: “It’s the missing piece of the puzzle for fighting tax fraud.”

The bill gives added responsibilities to the Field Enforcement Division of the Comptroller’s Office to investigate potential tax fraud. It allows the agency to seek injunctions against tax preparers suspected of fraudulent and criminal practices.

The comptroller’s office says more than 76,000 fraudulent returns have been blocked from being processed since 2007, adding up to more than $174 million.

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