Tax crimes Feed

As the U.S. Senate was preparing to debate tougher gun control proposals (they all failed, by the way, in votes held Monday, June 20), a government transparency group was issuing a report on the amount of armaments held by non-military U.S. agencies. In its publication "The Militarization of America," Open the Books also blasts the Internal Revenue Service for its inadequate inventory control in tracking weapons in its Criminal Investigation Unit. Open the Books, which is a project of the nonprofit organization American Transparency, says in its report that: Sixty-seven non-military federal agencies spent $1.48 billion on guns, ammunition, and... Read more →


Go big or go home. That's a common mantra down here in Texas. A variation applied this week in a federal bankruptcy courtroom in Big D. The judge there ruled that a former Lone Star billionaire's big attempt to shelter money offshore means he owes the Internal Revenue Service a big bill. Sam Wyly, a once legendary Dallas businessman, philanthropist and one of the wealthiest men in the country (shown at right on the October 2015 cover of D CEO magazine), was found on May 10 to have defrauded the IRS by shuffling assets among a network of offshore trusts... Read more →


The 2016 presidential campaign has been an unusual one in many ways. The so-called political establishment has been under fire on both the Democratic and Republican sides. Usually reliable pollsters and pundits have seen their projections upended by a new type of electorate. And social media has become a major player in the race for the White House. But one thing hasn't changed. The presumptive GOP nominee is as reluctant in 2016 to release his federal tax returns as was the 2012 candidate. This year, it's Donald J. Trump who says he won't release his tax returns until the Internal... Read more →


Brothels are legal in New South Wales, Australia, so officials there had no problem when Jamelie Lahood ran the Stiletto brothel for more than a decade until 2014. A room at Stiletto, a high-end brothel in Sydney, Australia. Photo from the bordello's Instagram account. However, Australian tax officials do take issue with the nearly $2 million ($1.5 million in U.S. currency) they say Lahood owes from her earnings as boss of the self-described "world's finest short stay boutique hotel and Sydney brothel." The money Lahood made operating Stiletto between 2008 and 2014 placed her among the top 0.1 percent of... Read more →


Millions of folks are working diligently these last few days before the April 18 (19th in Maine and Massachusetts) tax filing deadline. Unfortunately, that tax-focused group includes criminals. This afternoon the Internal Revenue Service issued a warning to tax professionals of a new scam that's just started showing up in some tax prep offices. In this latest iteration of tax identity theft, cyber-criminals obtain remote control of preparers' computer systems, complete and file client tax returns and redirect refunds to the thieves' accounts. The IRS says that although it knows of only a handful of cases to date, it wanted... Read more →


A group of South Florida rappers allegedly created a music label as a front for a massive tax refund fraud ring. Click image to watch the MoneyKing_GroundUP111 video on YouTube. Maybe the erstwhile rappers should change their musical moniker to Doin' Time since six of them were sentenced to jail last week in connection with the tax fraud scheme. Harlan Decoste of Miramar, Florida, who went by the alias Money King, created the label, according to the federal charges filed against him and his confederates back in August 2015 in the Southern District of Florida. Decoste received the longest prison... Read more →


Tax con artists apparently like playing in the Internal Revenue Service's backyard. The 2016 tax-filing deadline is just days away and new phishing scams are popping up. Just last month they did so symbolically, pretending to be members of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, a group dedicated to helping taxpayers get better service from the tax agency. They used TAP's good reputation in phishing emails to try to convince unsuspecting recipients to reveal personal tax information. Now tax identity thieves literally are targeting folks living in the national capital area. The IRS' headquarters is in Washington, D.C., and many of its... Read more →


Diane L. Kroupa was appointed as judge to the U.S. Tax Court in June 2013. Her term was supposed to have run for 15 years, but in June 2014 she retired early. This week Kroupa, 60, was indicted on two counts each of tax evasion, filing false returns and obstruction of an IRS audit. Her husband, Robert E. Fackler, 62, also was indicted on the same six tax-related charges. The couple is accused of understating their income by approximately $1 million on tax filings for the 2004 through 2010 tax years. Much of that too-low amount was arrived at by... Read more →


When the hubby and I head to a sporting event where only young fans are given freebies, say a team-logo cup or a bobble-head doll, we joke that we should be able to rent a kid or two so we could get the goodies. Yes, we would take sports-related candy etc. from children! This baby didn't hamper dad's ability to snag a foul ball. Plus, he provides his parents with several potential tax saving options. Click image to see MLB video of the catch and story about the ensuing controversy. Well, one Missouri man allegedly took our jesting approach to... Read more →


Each tax season, millions of folks get a large chunk of money. For many, this refund money is the largest lump sum they'll see all year. A lot of those folks, however, don't have bank accounts. So they either get their Internal Revenue Service refunds in check form or they have the money loaded onto a prepaid card. Reloadable prepaid cards are available from many tax preparation software programs. Or from tax preparation firms. Or from major retailers such as grocery, drug and big box stores. Just Google the term for myriad options. But there's one big problem with these... Read more →


In this media saturated age, there's no denying that everyone can benefit from some good PR. That also applies to federal agencies, especially the most-hated one, especially at this time of year. That's why the Internal Revenue Service (you got that already, right, from the most-hated reference?) is touting its successes against tax identity thieves. It has issued its Top 10 list of prosecutions against financial crooks during fiscal year 2015. During that government financial year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2015, the IRS reports that it initiated 776 investigations into tax-related identity theft. It was... Read more →


There are many reasons folks are leery of the Internal Revenue Service, but asset seizures have to be at the top of the list. The IRS isn't the only tax collector to seize assets for nonpayment of taxes. State revenue officers use the process, too. This extreme step generally is taken by Uncle Sam's tax collector when a taxpayer has failed to pay the legal tax due either because of neglect or willful refusal. In these cases, there are guidelines the IRS must follow, including giving the taxpayer notice of the tax assessment and conducting a hearing if requested by... Read more →


There are very few times when folks are on the Internal Revenue Service's side, but this might just be one of them. The IRS has slapped pharmaceutical bad boy Martin Shkreli with a tax lien totaling more than $4.6 million. Former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli in happier times. UPDATE, Aug. 4, 2017: In addition to Uncle Sam, New York State also wants tax money from Shkreli. The Empire State's list of its 250 top tax delinquents has the financier at number 14, with a combined 2016-17 tax debt of $3.97 million. Shkreli's attorney, however, told the New York Post's Page... Read more →


And the tax hacking continues. The Internal Revenue Service says that crooks recently unleashed an automated attack upon its Electronic Filing Personal Identification Number, or e-filing PIN, application Web page. The cybercrime attempt failed. IRS stopped an automated bot attempt by identity thieves to obtain e-file ID numbers that could have been used to claim fake refunds. As all taxpayers who e-file their returns know, the IRS must verify your identity by your entry of your Self-Select PIN or your adjusted gross income from your prior year tax return. If you don't have either of those pieces of info, you... Read more →


The list of states warning taxpayers that they'll have to wait longer for their tax refunds is growing. But don't blame the state tax collectors. Anger should be directed at the increasing number of criminals who are stealing individuals' personal data and then using it to file fraudulent tax returns, at federal and state levels. Illinois, Louisiana and Utah revenue departments were the first to announce that new security protocols would mean more time to verify and process state returns. Now we've gotten similar messages from Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Carolina tax officials. South Carolina: Let's start down... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service apparently is having a welcome and calm start to the 2016 tax filing season. A few hours after Uncle Sam's tax collectors began accepting and processing returns on Jan. 19, the IRS issued a statement noting that it had "successfully opened its systems today in a smooth opening of the 2016 tax filing season. Through mid-day, the IRS had received several hundred thousand tax returns." But some TaxAct customers weren't among those whose returns were starting through the federal tax system. ID theft attempt to get tax info: Just a few days before the filing season... Read more →


The 43 states that collect some type of income tax from their residents plan to follow the Internal Revenue Service schedule and start their 2016 tax-filing seasons on Jan. 19. But when it comes to refunds associated with 2015 filings, the federal and some state calendars diverge dramatically. The IRS, so far, is sticking with its hope prediction that it will issue more than 90 percent of refunds this year within at least 21 days after it receives the electronically filed returns. Illinois, Louisiana and Utah officials, however, are saying not so fast. They have alerted their taxpayers that in... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service's main job is collecting taxes. The agency has long made it clear that it doesn't care where the money comes from. It just wants its share. The IRS doesn't care about the source of your income (ill-gotten gains are still taxable) or your immigration status. The federal tax man just wants his share of your money. That's why the legend of Treasury investigators bringing down Al Capone, one of America's most infamous criminals, persists after all these years. But as Scarface's situation so clearly demonstrates, the IRS wasn't concerned about all the people he allegedly killed... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service is among 13 federal offices that is using high-tech cell phone surveillance devices. As I noted over at Bankrate Taxes Blog, the ability of the federal tax collector to gather metadata from mobile phones has a lot of folks worried about just what data is being collected, from whom and how it is or will be used. Such concerns came up in a Senate Finance Committee's Oct. 27 hearing that was already on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's schedule. The session was arranged to discuss the Senate panel's report on how badly the IRS handled Tea Party... Read more →


Irwin Schiff, the man who mainstreamed the tax protester movement, has died. His family said he passed away on Oct. 16 at a Fort Worth, Texas, hospital affiliated with the federal prison where he was serving, yet again, time for tax evasion. The cause was lung cancer. He was 87. The latest prison sentence was Schiff's third, all of them connected with his claim that income taxes are unconstitutional. Schiff made his anti-tax case in his books, including Federal Mafia: How It Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully Collects Income Taxes (1992); The Great Income Tax Hoax: Why You Can Immediately Stop... Read more →