A 34-year-old Florida man pleaded guilty to theft-related charges on Aug. 8. According to the report, the man was accused of having U.S. Treasury checks sent to taxpayers who did not exist as a result of fraudulent tax returns.
Filing taxes can often be a complicated and exasperating exercise, inspiring many Florida taxpayers to seek outside help. People often turn to a CPA or other certified professional to file their taxes for them. Yet, to the taxpayers' misfortune and surprise, this can sometimes lead to missing documents, falsely completed documents and other problematic issues.
Each year, the IRS estimates that 17 percent of taxpayers do not comply with the tax code in some manner. However, only .0022 percent of taxpayers are convicted of fraud in a given year. This is because the IRS typically gives the benefit of the doubt to those who make mistakes on a tax return. What does the IRS consider fraud as opposed to a simple error on a tax return?
As the result of a plea deal, a 34-year-old Jacksonville man pleaded guilty in early August to charges of stealing government property. The charges were related to refund checks issued by the IRS as the result of filing false and fraudulent income tax returns. According to reports, the U.S. Treasury checks were mailed to bogus addresses in New York in 2011 and 2012.
The IRS reported that a small amount of tax offenses in Florida result in convictions every year. However, an estimated 17 percent of taxpayers do not follow tax laws, and about three-fourths of these are individuals who commit tax fraud. Even so, the IRS has strict definitions of tax fraud, defining the act as intentional and not just an oversight.
A former Florida business owner was indicted for allegedly filing fraudulent individual and corporate tax returns in 2010 and 2011. The alleged tax fraud took place while he was a resident of Niceville and the owner of at least seven different businesses. The 62-year-old man is accused of underreporting both his corporate and personal income during those two years. He now lives in Laughlin, Nevada but will be required to return to Florida for the trial.
A Florida woman who was found guilty of tax fraud was sentenced on July 18. According to the report, the 41-year-old Gibsonton woman pleaded guilty on April 25 to receiving more than $43,000 in income tax refunds by filing fraudulent tax returns using the names of other people in 2011.
Federal prosecutors have charged several Florida residents in a fraudulent tax refund scheme that allegedly surrounded a Winter Garden convenience store. The couple that runs the store has been accused of knowingly buying and cashing fraudulent refund checks through the store's check-cashing service. The pair allegedly charged approximately half the checks' face value to cash them and ultimately cashed over $20 million, according to IRS agents.
A Polk County man was sentenced to serve seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty in a tax fraud case. The 50-year-old man entered a plea of guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on March 7. He will also be required to forfeit the $325,886, which the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida identified as the proceeds of the fraud scheme, as well as the $14,952 seized from his home in 2012.
A 56-year-old man has pleaded guilty in a case involving approximately $22 million in false tax refund claims. The unlicensed income tax preparer indicated that his involvement in the criminal tax fraud resulted in the Internal Revenue Service issuing his clients refunds of $4.5 million between 2011 and 2013. According to reports, the man explained that he was able to conceal his role in the fraudulent returns by neglecting to include his professional tax preparer information on the returns. Paper returns were mailed to the IRS in the case.