State and federal prosecutors are devoting increasing attention to people accused of tax fraud and identity theft. Florida officials have prosecuted several people charged with stealing the identities of multiple individuals and using those identities to file fraudulent tax returns. A Tamp woman was recently sentenced to more than 5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to aggravated identity theft and theft of government property. The Department of Justice announced the prison sentence along with other penalties assessed to the woman.
Stolen-identity tax-refund fraud is a relatively new concern for the Department of Justice. Cases involving criminal charges for these acts have been growing for several years. In the case of the Tampa woman, her conduct was traced back to early 2011. In total, she was accused of stealing identities to file more than 150 fraudulent tax returns.
The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has reported that this form of tax crime totaled more than $5 billion in fraudulent returns in 2012. The Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice have labeled it a high priority issue. The high profile these crimes are receiving may eventually result in greater penalties assessed to people convicted of tax fraud and identity theft.
Florida is considered a hotbed for identity theft tax fraud. Federal investigators and prosecutors are working on new ways to catch and convict people suspected of this form of white collar crime. In addition to prison time, those found guilty will also likely be forced to forfeit property and cash traceable to the criminal act.
Source: News Talk Florida, "Tampa Woman Gets 5 ½-Years For Tax Fraud," 5 June 2013