White collar crimes come in all flavors. One of the more common ones in the last decade has been identity theft. This criminal offense, which has become more prevalent since technology has everyone doing business electronically, can branch off into numerous other crimes. Tax fraud is just one of them.
A Florida man from Polk County, Florida, pleaded guilty to identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his part in a tax scheme. The 50-year-old man, along with alleged conspirators, used stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns. They used other people’s names, birthdates and Social Security numbers to collect fraudulent tax refunds.
The refunds were either electronically deposited to reload-able debit cards or mailed to addresses where they could be retrieved. The fraudulent tax returns were filed between August 2011 and June 2012. The funds were reportedly used for personal benefits.
In 2012, a tax fraud investigation was started by federal agents and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. On March 21, 2012, $14,952 was seized from the 50-year-old Lakeland man’s home. A recent ruling on his case included an order to forfeit those funds. Also ordered by the judge is a judgment in the amount $325,886 for funds that they were able to trace back to the fraud scheme. The man was also sentenced to a seven-year term in federal prison.
Tax fraud cases can be complex. Those facing these charges will need a good defense in order to poke a hole in the prosecutor’s case. This is especially true when there is a great deal of evidence pointing to illegal activity.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Polk man sentenced to 7 years for stealing IDs, filing phony tax returns” Kevin P. Connolly, Jun. 09, 2014