Tax fraud Feed

With summer here, most of us are taking advantage of this traditional season of breaks to, well, take breaks from work. I am among them. To make the end of work weeks during the summer a little easier, I'm resuming an older ol' blog feature, Tax Felon Friday. Tax offenses generally aren't as lurid as those in, for example, true crime podcasts. (Yes, I am a big fan of them.) But this first of the revived Tax Felon Friday series does have a connection to a prior prurient federal case. In the summer of 2017, Frank Parlato, Jr. helped expose... Read more →


Photo by Mediamodifier on Unsplash Guess who's not taking a long July 4th holiday? Tax scammers. The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners today warned of a new scam mailing in which crooks tell the correspondence recipients that they are owed a tax refund. The fake tax mailing comes in a cardboard envelope from a delivery service. As is often the case with tax scams, the letter includes contact information and a phone number that do not belong to the IRS. The mailing tells recipients that in order to get their refund, they must provide personal information, such... Read more →


Getting a notice from the Internal Revenue Service is rarely welcome. But such correspondence could be a tax and financial lifesaver when it's about possible tax identity theft. Over the years, the IRS has made progress in reducing tax ID theft, largely because the tax agency scans every tax return for signs of fraud. If the automated system finds a suspicious tax return, the IRS reviews the filing and sends a letter to the taxpayer letting them know about the potential ID theft. The IRS won't process the suspicious tax return until it gets a response from the taxpayer. Here... Read more →


Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash Among the many lessons we've learned, or not, from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we'll likely never be rid of it. And as the transition to endemic status progresses, we'll continue to deal with flare-ups like, irony alert, the one that erupted following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's recent first in-person Epidemic Intelligence Service conference in four years. The same persistence seems to apply to taxes, too. As the severity of COVID-19 became clearer, most of the United States went into lockdown to help slow its spread. While that saved lives,... Read more →


Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko A Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report on the early results of the 2023 filing season shows that the agency is still taking identity theft seriously. This filing season, which wrapped up (save for extensions) on April 18, was the first since the pandemic began where individual tax return processing and related activities returned for the most part to normal timelines, noted TIGTA. As of March 3, the IRS had received 54.9 million tax returns, or almost a third of the 167 million filings it expects to get this year. Of that nearly 55... Read more →


Scammers tend to use tried and true techniques to con people out of their identities and money. One of the most popular schemes involves crooks pretending to be real-life officials. And the Internal Revenue Service is near the top of government agencies that con artists impersonate. CloudFlare, a company which provides security for many companies' online operations, says that the IRS ranks sixth in the 50 top brands when it comes to phishing attempts that use fake sites. The example given by CloudFlare included "IRS" along with the words "contact" and "payment." A big tip-off that the URL is fake... Read more →


As a true crime junkie (I blame my first newspaper reporting job covering the police beat) and tax geek, the headline about a senior bank official's guilty pleas to embezzlement and tax evasion immediately caught my eye. The Michigan man, a bank senior vice president, confessed in court on March 6 to embezzling $870,000 from the financial institution between 2014 and 2021. Then he compounded his troubles by involving the Internal Revenue Service. Specifically, according to the press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Michigan, the 56-year-old Grand Rapids man — "… generated taxable... Read more →


Photo by Leeloo Thefirst Tax statements are crucial not only to taxpayers, but also tax collectors who rely on the forms' information to verify what people put on their returns. Some crooks, however, are trying to slip false filing data by the Internal Revenue Service, and are entrapping taxpayers in the process. The IRS today issued a warning about a new scam involving fake W-2 forms, the document used by taxpayers and tax departments to verify a taxpayer's earnings. The W-2 info is the main earnings data entered on annual tax returns by millions of filers. Con artists, in many... Read more →


via GIPHY The good news on the scam front is that fewer people reported getting suckered by con artists last year. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says there were 2.4 million scam reports in 2022, compared to 2.9 million such reports in 2021. The bad news is that con artists stole more money. The FTC's newest data book issued today (Feb. 23) reports $8.8 billion lost to scams in 2022. That's 2.6 billion more reports than the previous year. One reason for the dramatic increase in the amount of scammed dollars is the growth of investment scams. These schemes were... Read more →


The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, is one of the most beneficial tax breaks for lower- and moderate-income workers. It's also one of the most under-claimed. The reasons are many, starting with its complexity. You have to work to be able to claim the EITC. But if you make too much money, you're ineligible. Your marital status comes in the calculation of the final credit, as does the size of your family. And many single people ignore the EITC because they think it's only available to filers with dependent children. "This is an extremely important tax credit that helps... Read more →


Photo by RODNAE Productions Welcome to the continuation of the ol' blog's Tax Crime Weekend! Yesterday's post featured efforts to end abusive tax schemes and bring their promoters to justice. Today's post expands on the legal reckoning theme. The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation division, known as IRS-CI, recently revealed its top 10 cases of 2022. Wide variety of schemes, one outcome: The tax evasion attempts included Ponzi pyramid schemes, fake businesses, COVID-19 fraud, bogus tax credit, and even a reality TV couple. And more. Despite the diversity of their criminal tax acts, they shared one thing. They got caught.... Read more →


Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich One of the reasons to file early is to beat tax identity thieves to the punch. Even though the Internal Revenue Service has slowed such tax crimes a bit in recent years, they're still out there. In fact, I've been getting a lot of scam span in recent weeks, both texts and email, like the one below I got this morning. While this poorly faked attempt — a Gmail address for the U.S. Agency for International Development's grant office; really? — isn't a specific tax hack attempt, some of the information the crooks want from me... Read more →


Nothing ever disappears on the internet. Even, or especially, tax related posts. Take the bad legal take on taxes that tops this post. It was retweeted on Sunday (Dec. 11) by, you guessed it, Bad Legal Takes. But there's no indication of when Dave Champion originally blasted out his bad tax advice. It might have been before he was barred by a federal court in 2012 from promoting a tax fraud scheme. Or maybe he's back, since this Tweet apparently went up in October. His books also are still for sale online. Either way, that item this weekend spurred a... Read more →


Not all foreign tax havens are tropical islands, but the idyllic getaways do conjure images of tax crooks enjoying isolated beaches at Internal Revenue Service's expense. (Photo by Asad Photo Maldives) Correlation does not imply causation, but in a couple of high-profile offshore tax evasion cases, it's starting to look like trying to allegedly put one over on the U.S. tax collector is not a healthy move. For the second time in four months, a defendant in an offshore tax evasion case has died. Carlos Kepke, a Houston-based tax attorney who was indicted on charges that he helped hide $225... Read more →


Some of my grandmother's paintings, known as the main Vera Gallery in our house. (Photo by Kay Bell) The hubby and I are art fans, primarily of painted works. That's why almost all of our vacations include a visit to our destinations' museums. Our appreciation of a piece hanging on a wall is why most of our rooms are adorned by framed artworks. Most are signed limited edition print versions of our favorite painters' works. But we also have some originals of a few notable artists, as well as works that are more sentimental but just as lovely, like the... Read more →


Right now, a lot of folks are thinking they should have been like Larry. The Larry they wished they'd emulated is Larry David, known for his curmudgeonly television character. He tweaked that persona to become a naysayer on several inventions that, per the commercial's Super Bowl debut, changed the world. The television ad for FTX crypto exchange advised viewers, "Don't be like Larry" and instead invest in digital currency via the company. On Friday, Nov. 11, FTX filed for bankruptcy following reports that between $1 billion to $2 billion of FTX customer funds disappeared. Continuing crypto troubles: This is just... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) division is doing its part to close the Tax Gap, which now sits at $496 billion in uncollected tax. The IRS' law enforcement group's recently released annual report notes that its agents initiated more than 2,550 criminal investigations, identified more than $31 billion from tax and financial crimes, and obtained a 90.6 percent conviction rate on cases that were prosecuted. Much of IRS-CI's success during the 2022 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, was due to its increased cooperation and partnership with its global counterparts to combat tax and financial crimes worldwide.... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service saw its largest tax fraud case ever end on Aug. 5 when Robert T. Brockman died. The 81-year-old billionaire had been charged with 39 criminal financial crimes, including tax evasion. Federal investigations alleged that Brockman was part of an elaborate offshore tax fraud scheme that cheated the U.S. Treasury out of more than $1.4 billion in taxes, penalties, and interest. While the criminal case is over, legal actions in civil and tax courtrooms to recoup the allegedly unpaid taxes (and add-on charges) continue. Special tax action to protect collection: As part of that process, the IRS... Read more →


We depend on our smartphones more than ever. They've made texting, especially among younger device owners, the preferred way to communicate. Crooks know this, too. Including tax identity thieves. The Internal Revenue Service says it's seen a recent rash of tax-related texting scams. These latest schemes, known as smishing because they use SMS (short message service) or MMS (multimedia messaging service), look like they are coming from the IRS. Don't fall for these fake IRS texts, which the tax agency says have increased exponentially this year. Exponential fake tax texts: So far in 2022, the IRS has identified and reported... Read more →


Just more than a year ago, a Parkville, Missouri, man pleaded guilty to charges filed in two separate federal investigations. One was a case involving conspiracy to commit wire and major program fraud. The defendant admitted to his role in a $335 million scheme to defraud federal programs that award contracts to firms owned by minorities, veterans, and service-disabled veterans. The second charge was one of tax evasion to the tune of $615,847. The Missouri man confessed to claiming fraudulent business expenses on his 2016 tax year return and filing false returns from 2013 to 2016. Last Thursday, Sept. 22,... Read more →