Law enforcement officers arrested six Miami-area residents this week after 49 Aventura police officers and several other city employees reported identity theft-related tax fraud. This arrest shows that authorities in Florida and around the country are increasingly focused on tax return fraud.
In addition to the Internal Revenue Service’s enormous investigative resources, local law enforcement agencies will probably focus even more attention on these kinds of federal tax fraud cases.
The accusations against these six defendants claim that they defrauded numerous people by filing fake tax returns. Under the IRS’s current procedures, the government pays tax refunds relatively quickly and does not review filings until later in the year. This means that it is possible to file fake tax returns using another person’s identity. The government normally mails a check and discovers the duplicate tax return only after the suspect already has the money.
In this case, authorities noticed the large fraud ring when it defrauded 49 local police officers. The suspects allegedly used the officers’ personal information to file the returns and open lines of credit. According to the allegations, someone filed 432 fake tax returns during a two-week period in January 2012, using Internet service at one of the suspect’s homes.
This prosecution is another example of the government’s increased focus on tax fraud – as more cases develop, authorities are getting better at spotting and prosecuting these kinds of schemes.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “ID thefts of 49 cops lead to crime ring, feds say,” Paula McMahon, Nov. 13, 2012