Federal tax crimes are becoming increasingly targeted by prosecutors across the country. Alabama is no exception.
In a recent case, an Alabama woman was indicted by a federal grand jury alleging she engaged in a tax refund scheme and fraudulently collected more than $550,000. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Birmingham, the charges include grand theft of government property, wire fraud, and money laundering. The indictment accuses that the defendant stole tax payer refunds between February of 2013 and February of 2014.
The defendant also faces wire fraud charges, allegedly for causing the IRS to electronically transfer over $500,000 in fraudulent tax refunds from outside Alabama. According to the indictment, the defendant opened a bank account and filed fraudulent tax returns. Federal prosecutors allege defendant used ill-gotten returns to purchase a luxury Lexus ES350.
Penalties upon conviction, including fines and jail terms, could be severe. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, defendant is facing up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The IRS has initiated an exceptionally large number of investigations this year into identity theft and other refund fraud schemes. The new identity theft investigations have resulted in more than 1,800 active cases throughout the United States. The IRS Criminal Investigation department is working as part of a larger effort in collaboration with the IRS to combat identity theft and refund fraud. According to both departments, the goal is to hold identity thieves accountable and prevent future fraudulent refunds from being issued. The agency also wants to protect victims from tax fraud losses.
Given the proliferation of internet use and widespread data sharing, more people have been able to commit tax fraud by accessing data and using online filing systems to collect refunds. The IRS claims it is one of the fastest-growing crimes nationwide and one of the biggest challenges to the agency. Representatives claim they are making substantial progress in combating refund fraud.
However, this means that more people will be scrutinized, investigated and charged. If you are under investigation by the IRS for federal tax fraud or other crimes, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to protect your rights and prevent unwarranted charges and penalties.
If you are contacted by the IRS involving an investigation or potential criminal allegation, remember not to go through the interrogation process without a lawyer. Our Birminghamdefense attorneys are experienced in complex identity theft and computer crimes cases and can effectively protect your rights.
If you made a mistake or were wrongly accused of tax fraud, you need an experienced attorney who can protect your rights.
Even if you purposely misstated the facts on your return, it is important to consult with an attorney so you are not over-charged in federal court. Since the beginning of 2014, the Criminal Investigation department of the IRS has worked aggressively to pursue and prosecute crimes related to tax refund fraud.