Twenty-five people in Florida were arrested and charged with counts of tax fraud and identify theft in the last few weeks, as authorities worked to crack down on what they say is a crime that has been growing in popularity lately. The crime can keep people who deserve tax returns from getting them, and it can net a lot of fraudulent returns for people who file under names that are not their own.
In this case, the total amount of money that was paid out before the Internal Revenue Service realized that tax fraud was taking place was about $9.5 million dollars. All told, though, around $36 million in false claims were submitted. This was the result of thousands of identities being stolen and used for a string of small claims.
School workers were even involved in the crime, taking the identities of students and using them to put in the claims. The victims never knew that their identities had been taken, as students trusted the school to keep their information safe. Though they were not all students, it is said that as many as 14,000 identities were taken. It was not stated how many were used to file returns, though the $36 million in claims indicates that many of them were.
Filing taxes can be confusing and difficult, and those who are doing it need to make sure that they are doing everything legally. If someone is facing fraud charges for a mistake, they have a right to defend themselves. Even if they were intentional about the fraud, they still deserve a fair trial and a chance to appeal an unfavorable verdict.
Source: Miami-Herald, “Feds charge 25 suspects with ID theft, tax fraud in South Florida take-down” Jay Weaver, Apr. 04, 2014