Tax crimes Feed

One of my favorite Lyle Lovett songs is "What Do You Do/The Glory of Love," where the Houston singer-songwriter shares the vocal spotlight with the incomparable Francine Reed. The lyric that initially caught my ear and makes me chuckle every time I hear it goes, "If you make all that money man, make damn sure it shows." That's a great exchange in a duet, but such showiness raised suspicions about a Dallas-area accountant accused of defrauding the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP fraud guilty plea: Steven Jalloul was indicted in September 2020 on charges he orchestrated a fraudulent scheme... Read more →


The tax voyeur in all of us enjoyed the latest unsurprising revelations of how rich people hide money around the world, including a dozen U.S. states and D.C., to avoid paying taxes. The attention to this not really news item also is a good time to note the difference between illegal tax evasion and legal tax avoidance. The South Dakota capitol building is in the state's capital city of Pierre. The state itself is the U.S. capital as far as the most trusts identified in the Pandora Papers. (Photo by Jake DeGroot via Wikipedia) Last week we got news that... Read more →


Looking to hide money from the Internal Revenue Service in another country? The tax agency makes finding such funds a priority, but one man accused of helping set up tax shelters has managed to slip through U.S. tax officials' hands. (Photo from Pixabay via Pexels) More than five years ago, 11.5 million leaked documents detailing information for more than 214,000 offshore companies were made public. The world was fascinated with the tale of how wealthy individuals, with the help of money managers and bankers, created tax shelters. That reveal by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, dubbed the Panama Papers... Read more →


Of course there's a tax crime connection. A defunct Connecticut minor league hockey club is the focus of a new Netflix documentary. The film's tales of the brawling Danbury Trashers offer this weekend's diversion, along with a bit of a tax connection. I fell in love with hockey when I went to my first game, a Washington Capitals match back in 1981 shortly after we moved to the National Capital area. Those early Capitals' teams sucked majorly. But they had some good individual players. The skills and heart of Rick Green, Mike Gartner, and young American phenom Bobby Carpenter made... Read more →


A record number of unemployment claims were filed due to COVID-19 layoffs. But billions of dollars of those benefits went to crooks who falsely filed for them. The weekly jobless reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are always watched closely. They're seen as a sign of how well (or not) the economy is doing. The reports of how many people are (or aren't) looking for work have taken on added significance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest count was good news. BLS' Sept. 2 report showed that the United States saw the least number of new unemployment... Read more →


UPDATE, Oct. 18, 2021: The Capone auction slipped by me, as I focused on the impending Oct. 15 filing extension deadline. But it went off as planned earlier this month, with the convicted tax felon's heirs getting more than $3 million for many of his personal items. The Chicago Tribune has the sale's details, and notes the capital gains taxes they will pay. This U.S. Department of Justice mug shot of Al Capone was taken four months before his tax eviction conviction on Oct. 17, 1931. It is not one of the Capone items that will be auctioned by his... Read more →


Tonight's Powerball drawing is $304 million*. If your numbers don't come up, or even if they do, you can check out Mega Millions' drawing on Friday, Aug. 27, for a jackpot that by then will be more than the current $288 million**. *UPDATE, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021: No big winner last night. That pushes the Powerball jackpot for Saturday's, Aug. 28, drawing to, right now, $322 million. **UPDATE, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021: Stop me if you're heard this, but no big Mega Millions winner on Aug. 27. That means the Tuesday, Aug. 31, jackpot will be at least $306 million.... Read more →


When is a tax whistleblower not a whistleblower, at least as far as getting rewarded for certain information? When the Internal Revenue Service determines that added taxes didn't directly come from the whistleblower's, well, whistle blowing. That's what recently happened to a man who altered the IRS to what he thought was unreported, and therefore untaxed, income. The IRS, acting on the tip, reviewed the reported individual's apparently questionable filing. However, the IRS found that the suspect funds were indeed non-taxable. But then the IRS took a longer look at the taxpayer's filing, and found what it determined were improper... Read more →


FTC Chair Lina Khan was one of the officials appearing at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in June on the agency's plan to modernize consumer protection. (Screen shot from the committee's hearing video) Most Americans don't pay too much attention to who's in charge of the various federal agencies. But a few now are learning about Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan since her agency has renewed its antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. And others know the Biden Administration appointee because they are getting phishing emails using Khan's name in a COVID-19 payment scam. The email, purportedly from... Read more →


You'd think after almost 18 months of dealing with COVID-19, we'd all be wise to related scams. Apparently, we aren't. The coronavirus pandemic has been Christmas for con artists looking to cash in on all-too-common tales of woe and hardship, writes Los Angeles Times business columnist David Lazarus. He leads off his article with the tale of a crook impersonating the neighbor of a California couple. In an email that looked to be from the neighbor's real online address, the crook invoked an extended family COVID tragedy. But while carefully crafted, the con wasn't quite slick enough to fool these... Read more →


COVID-19 just won't let go. A tropical system is heading for the Gulf of Mexico. And it's Friday the 13th. Yep, today is a trifecta of the unwanted. The bad news — of course I'm starting with it on this day! — is that every year has at least one Friday the 13th. The ominous, for some, day shows up one to three times a year. There were two in 2020. The good news for 2021 is that today is the only Friday the 13th of the year. The last time that happened was Friday, May 13, 2016. If you... Read more →


Tax reporting changes of virtual currency transactions remain a part of the infrastructure bill, now on the bumpy legislative road to passage in the U.S. Senate. But crypto already has been contributing to the U.S. Treasury, and I'm not talking about individual taxpayers' filings. So far this fiscal year, the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation division has seized $1.2 billion in crypto currencies. And there's still almost two months before fiscal 2021 ends on Sept. 30. That amount is a reflection of the tax agency's increased interest in digital currency. "In fiscal year 2019, we had about $700,000 worth of... Read more →


If you don't follow international taxes, you probably missed the CumEx story. The team of investigative reporters who uncovered the alleged tax fraud schemes back in 2017 characterized it as "the largest tax robbery in the history of Europe." Thirty-eight reporters from 19 newsrooms in 12 countries collaborated across borders to dig through 180,000 pages of documents related to the allected tax fraud. Just what did the alleged tax schemers do? The short version is, allegedly, that banks, stock traders, and lawyers obtained billions from European treasuries through suspected fraud and speculation involving investment dividend taxes. According to the journalists,... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service and those who want Uncle Sam to go after tax evaders were elated when a bipartisan infrastructure bill included money for enhanced tax collection efforts. Proponents said the beefed-up proposal to close the Tax Gap could bring in an additional $100 billion over the next 10 years in owed but unpaid taxes. However, that funding option has been scuttled. "Well, one reason it's not part of the [infrastructure] proposal is that we did have [Republican] pushback," said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) during an appearance today on CNN's "State of the Union" program. But there's still hope... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service has wrapped up its 2021 version of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. In announcing the cons by category, the agency was able to elaborate more on each trick on the list. In case you missed the posts earlier this week, here are the ol' blog's posts on each of them: Pandemic related scams, aka Part 1, which focuses on attempts steal COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) and other tax-related coronavirus relief distributed by the IRS, from Monday, June 28; Personal information cons, or Part 2, with a look at phishing, its cousin voice phishing or vishing,... Read more →


What's the result when the worst things happen? Too often, it's terrible people taking advantage of good people. This occurs with alarming regularity in the tax world following tragedies and disasters. Con artists use horrible events to convince compassionate individuals to donate to groups that will help out the victims. What really happens all too often is the caring donors become victims, too. Fake charities are just one type of scam in today's third installment of the IRS' Dirty Dozen for 2021. This category of tax ruses in which dishonest people trick others into doing something illegal often includes fraudulent... Read more →


The COVID-19 pandemic presented new opportunities for crooks, as noted in yesterday's post on the first group of 2021's Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. Today, however, we're back with the golden oldies, as in trying to steal your gold. And your identity. These Personal Information Cons use a variety of techniques that have been around for years. There's phishing, its cousin voice phishing or vishing, Internal Revenue Service impersonators, social media trolling and tricks, and ransomware. Regardless of which illegal method is used, the goal is the same. Criminals try to get as much of your personal information as possible, including... Read more →


It's Dirty Dozen Week at the Internal Revenue Service. That's right, a week of examining the 12 most common and/or worst tax scams that have cropped up over the last year. I've been blogging about the annual IRS scam list for as long as Don't Mess With Taxes has been around. Sadly, some of the scams that I noted in my first list post back in the spring of 2006 — phishing for taxpayer identity details, fake charities, unscrupulous tax preparers — tend to show up year after year. You can see the repeat offenders in the 2019 and 2020... Read more →


Here's some good news to kick off you weekend. Most U.S. taxpayers say cheating on taxes is wrong. Of the taxpayers who participated in the Internal Revenue Service's 2020 Comprehensive Taxpayer Attitude Survey (CTAS), 87 percent said it is not at all acceptable to cheat on their income taxes. Even more, 94 percent, believe it is a civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes. Another 91 percent said everyone who cheats on their taxes should be held accountable. The combination online-telephone survey was conducted from Aug. 24, 2020, through Sept. 24, 2020, by Pacific Consulting Group (PCG). PCG... Read more →


Photo of John McAfee shared by his wife earlier this year as part of a Twitter post arguing for his release from a Spanish prison. Last week, millionaire software developer John McAfee was in a Spanish court arguing that he shouldn't be extradited to the United States to face tax evasion charges. Today, MacAfee was found dead in his cell at a Barcelona-area jail. There's no official word on the cause of death. News reports, however, say a preliminary investigation found no signs of foul play. Early indications are that McAfee hanged himself. Hours before the discovery, Spain's National Court... Read more →