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Miami Tax Law Blog

42 accused of involvement in Miami identity theft ring

On April 9, Florida authorities reported that 42 people were accused of being involved in an identity theft-fraud scheme. It was believed that most of the alleged attempts involved the Internal Revenue Service, though it also appeared that thousands of identities had been stolen in order to obtain unemployment insurance. It was not reported what the charges filed against these particular individuals were.

In total, 359 people have been charged and were thought to be responsible for approximated $125 million in actual losses. A state attorney noted that, in many cases, those who steal identities often have access to this information by working in a government agency or even potentially a doctor's office. These individuals would either use the identities or sell them to others for use.

Former NFL player implicated in Ponzi scheme

Football fans in Florida probably remember Will Allen for the time he spent as a cornerback with the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, but the former first round draft pick made news of a different kind on April 6. A complaint filed in a Boston court by the Securities and Exchange Commission accuses the former football player of being involved in a $31 million Ponzi scheme between 2012 and 2015.

According to the complaint, Allen and his business partner encouraged investors to provide funds that would be used to make loans to professional athletes. However, the SEC claims that the backers were misled about the terms and circumstances of the loans. The agency alleges that Allen and his partner used $7 million that had been raised from new investors to pay those who had already put money into the scheme. A Ponzi scheme is a form of white-collar crime where investors are paid from the money provided by new backers instead of the profits generated by the investment.

Florida preacher and partner sued for fraud

According to court documents, a former Florida preacher and his partner are being sued for allegedly stealing $2 million of investor's funds while blaming their loss on the bankruptcy of Peregrine Financial Group. Reportedly, the preacher solicited funds from members of his congregation as well as others, claiming he and his partner were successful with investing and trading in commodities.

According to the civil complaint, the preacher and his partner never invested the money. Instead, the plaintiffs allege the two misappropriated all of the money, spending the funds on travel and other personal expenses. The two men reportedly mailed fraudulent semi-annual reports to investors purporting to show profits they had made.

Senator indicted on suspicion of bribery, fraud

A Florida man is involved in the Justice Department indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez as the DOJ alleges charges against both men that include conspiracy, bribery, making false statements and honest services fraud. The 61-year-old West Palm Beach man reportedly gave nearly $1 million worth of contributions and gifts to Menendez in exchange for the power of the senator's office, and the senator was formally indicted in the District of New Jersey on April 1.

According to the DOJ, the 61-year-old senator, who is from Union City, received things from the other man like flights, a vacation in a Caribbean villa, campaign contributions and legal defense fund contributions between January 2006 and January 2013. None of the gifts the senator received were listed on his financial disclosure forms. On his part, Menendez is said to have influenced multimillion-dollar Medicare disputes in his friend's favor and supported the visa applications of more than one of the Florida man's girlfriends.

Man exonerated for murder pleads guilty to tax fraud

A man who spent 13 years as a prison inmate in Florida for a crime he was exonerated for was accused of taking part in a tax fraud scheme. The accused man allegedly worked with five other people to file fraudulent tax returns and then divide $1.25 million in refunds that they received. Some of the accused people might have been prison inmates together, according to reports.

Before he was accused of tax fraud, the man was convicted on rape and murder charges in 1994. Although he spent more than a decade behind bars for the charges, the conviction was overturned after DNA evidence proved that another person was guilty of the crimes. Three years after the man's release from prison in Florida, he was accused of animal cruelty in Wisconsin.

Florida pair accused of patient brokering and insurance fraud

Two Florida residents were taken into custody in March after a multi-agency investigation into a 2012 two-vehicle accident. The man and woman are accused of staging the accident in order to collect on the personal injury protection provisions of an auto insurance policy. The charges carry a maximum custodial sentence of 25 years. The investigation was conducted by personnel with the Florida Department of Financial Services, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the F.B.I.

The pair were occupants of a passenger vehicle that was struck by a U-Haul truck in Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 22, 2012. They are both said to have subsequently submitted insurance claims in connection with the accident. According to investigators, the U-Haul truck was rented and driven by individuals recruited by the pair in order to stage the accident. In addition to insurance fraud, the couple are facing charges of staging an accident and patient brokering.

Fraud scheme by former Florida bank president

A federal grand jury indicted a former Premier Community Bank of the Emerald Coast president in late October. On Mar. 13, the man pleaded guilty to federal money laundering, conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud, fraudulently benefiting from a loan by a federally insured institution and making false statements to a federally insured institution. The court will sentence him on May 28 for these charges.

The scheme took place between January 2006 and January 2011, when he allegedly profited around $337,000 and cost Premier Community Bank hundreds of thousands of dollars through illegal loans, according to a U.S. Department of Justice media release. The release also stated that the scheme defrauded Premier Community Bank, Beach Community Bank and Bank of America. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Treasury Department's Office all participated in the investigation.

2 Florida men accused of wire fraud and money laundering

Up to 30 years in federal prison are possible for two men, ages 31 and 28, in Jacksonville, Florida. Their indictment from the U.S. Attorney's Office alleged that their wire fraud bilked investors of over $1 million dollars. Additionally, over $4 million were supposedly laundered by the pair.

Operating under the guise of a foreign currency exchange company, they sought funds from investors between March 2012 and July 2014, according to information collected by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service, Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the Jacksonville Beach Police Department. Only 20 percent of the money collected from investors was actually traded on foreign currency and subsequently lost.

Identity theft and fraud lead to guilty plea in Florida

On Sept. 11, 2014, a 39-year-old woman and her 32-year-old friend, both from Jacksonville, were taken into custody and charged with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and access device fraud. Their case had been under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

In 2011, the 39-year-old was employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida where she had access to the personal information of the insurance company's subscribers. Prosecutors stated that she used that information to file fraudulent federal income tax returns.

State charges 14 for alleged health care fraud

According to a spokesperson with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the South District of Florida, 14 Miami-Dade residents have been charged and detained with various offenses relating to alleged health care fraud. The spokesperson stated the fraud resulted in $13.9 million in losses through fraudulently claimed payments.

Three of those charged reportedly ran 30 companies, which were medical staffing companies and medical clinics. Through the businesses, the three were reportedly able to obtain doctors' information, which they then allegedly used in order to submit fraudulent claims for services that were never performed.

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