Tax Fraud Take down in South Florida
Tax fraud is generally described as the avoidance of paying taxes owed by illegal means. Tax evasion can be committed by individuals, businesses or corporations in regards to federal, state or local taxes. The IRS and tax laws consider many actions tax fraud, from scams to deceitful bookkeeping.
Individual Tax Fraud
Tax fraud may be committed by individuals that purposefully use deceitful means to avoid paying income taxes. These tax crimes can take many forms. The following actions may constitute income tax evasion (source):
- Deliberately under-reporting, omitting or concealing incomes
- Overstating the amount of deductions
- False deductions
- Claiming non-existent dependents
- Deceptive record keeping
- Claiming personal expenses as business expenses
- Hiding or transferring assets or income
- Failure to file tax returns
- Using a false social security number
- Concealing or destroying records
- Money laundering
- Evading customs duties
Some of the most common types of fraud are under-reported income and overstated deductions. This may include someone hiding money in account in a foreign country, counting personal expenses as business expenses or even claiming deductions for a dependent child or spouse that doesn’t exist.
Efforts to alter your tax records to make these false claims seem legit are also in violation of tax laws.
Tax fraud may happen through simple actions, such as failing to file tax returns or fabricating deductions. However, more complex procedures, such as money laundering and smuggling, could also be considered tax evasion.
Feds charge 40 in ID theft-tax fraud takedown in South Florida
Federal authorities charged 40 South Florida defendants with identity theft and income tax fraud in a major crackdown on the “epidemic” crime (source, full story).
Federal authorities Wednesday escalated their assault on the double-barreled crime of identity theft and tax fraud, arresting 30 South Florida suspects — including a Miami Gardens man facing a murder trial — on charges of filing fake returns totaling millions of dollars.
Prosecutors in Miami unveiled charges against a total of 40 defendants accused of stealing the personal information of roughly 54,000 people and using it to file fraudulent income-tax refund claims with the Internal Revenue Service.
One defendant obtained the Social Security numbers of 26,000 people by searching a public database, according to court records. A separate group of defendants filed phony returns in the names of 5,000 people — nearly all of whom were dead — and received $6 million in IRS refunds.
“Identity theft and tax-refund scams are nothing less than a tsunami of fraud that is barreling toward us,” U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said at a news conference, pointing out that gang members, drug traffickers and violent criminals have become the face of “one of the fastest-growing and most pervasive problems in the United States.”
Among those arrested Wednesday: Lineten “Link” Belizaire, who was charged in August with the Lauderdale Lakes killings of two women and a baby. He had been out on bond awaiting trial in Broward County. Read more here:
West Palm Beach Fraud Defense Attorney
Depending upon the amount taken, fraud charges can have very serious consequences in Florida:
Theft of $300 to $20,000 by fraud is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine
Theft of $20,000 to $100,000 by fraud is a second-degree felony, punishable up to 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Theft of more than $100,000 by fraud is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years and a $10,000 fine.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we have extensive experience representing people charged with fraud crimes, including mortgage fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, tax evasion, insider trading, theft by fraudulent means, writing bad checks, and organized schemes to defraud.
In Florida, most fraud charges involve the Economic Crimes Division (ECD) putting together a great amount of evidence for presentation before a grand jury. The best way to resolve these cases is for your lawyer to have a good working relationship with the prosecutor and to try to avoid any serious consequences by paying restitution. In Florida, restitution outweighs incarceration, so if your lawyer can persuade the victim to drop charges in favor of receiving their money back, you can usually avoid a conviction.