Tax issues can quickly become criminal matters if the IRS suspects that you willfully provided false documents in an attempt to defraud the government. Tax fraud charges can be brought against individuals for a variety of reasons including omissions to tax returns, falsified records, and failure to file taxes. It is also possible to be charged with tax fraud if you help someone submit fraudulent tax records.
Federal prosecutors recently brought criminal charges against six individuals in connection with a tax fraud scheme which the IRS estimates to be worth $1.7 million. A 10-count indictment against the defendants was unsealed yesterday indicating that the scheme allegedly took place between 2009 and 2011. Authorities say that the identities of dead people were stolen to file tax returns. The refunds from the fraudulent returns were then directed to Florida.
Authorities say once the funds were received in Florida, checks would be sent to individuals in the Cleveland area. The checks were then sold or cashed at area businesses.
Identity theft is one of the areas that the IRS has begun to focus on in connection with growing numbers of Florida-based tax schemes.
"The Justice Department and the IRS will continue to cooperate in investigating and prosecuting these crimes to the fullest extent of the law," said John A. DiCicco, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Tax Division. "In our technology-driven society, this simply must be a top priority."
"This case is an example of the FBI and IRS working together to aggressively pursue and investigate those organized criminal enterprises that commit identity theft and fraudulent activities in the United States," said a FBI special agent.
Source: US Department of Justice, "Six Charged in Scheme to Use Identities of Deceased People to Get Tax Refunds," Jan. 25, 2012