Hacking, phishing and tax scams, oh my!
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Tallying tax crimes: 3,592 criminal investigations in the last nine months

I admit it. I'm a crime nut. My first post-college job was police beat reporter for a daily newspaper. I loved covering the mayhem and palling around with the cops.

Today, I fill that void by being addicted to TV crime shows (no so-called reality, thank you; good scripted ones, like Breaking Bad and Justified) and movies (ranging from anything film noir with gangsters and/or private detectives -- Bogie! -- to the stylish Heat to the melodramatic Shawshank Redemption).

So it's no surprise that on the work front, I check in periodically on tax crimes. The latest example is word from the Internal Revenue Service that it has seen a recent uptick in tax scams this summer.

But scams are just one instance of tax fraud with which the IRS must deal.

Treasury's Criminal Investigation (CI) employees are the only law enforcement officers authorized to investigate potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and that, of course, is their major focus. But the 4,100 or so worldwide CI special agents also have jurisdiction over money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws.

And the men and women of IRS CI (calling all scriptwriters!) have been busy.

Through the third quarter of fiscal year 2011 (that's from Oct. 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, for those of you who, like me, are more comfortable with calendar year references), CI has initiated 3,592 investigations.


That's already almost double the number of CI investigations in fiscal 2010.

And that increased workload is why the investigations to date in fiscal 2011 are this week's By the Numbers figure.

Of those almost 3,600 investigations, agents have recommended prosecution in more than 2,400 cases. They've been rewarded with more than 2,200 indictments and 1,668 convictions.

Yep, those CI statistics certainly seem to show that tax crime does not pay.

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