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Guilty plea entered in Florida tax crime scheme

Florida sees more than its share of financial malfeasance due to the massive amount of money that flows through the state. Each instance is of course unfortunate, but all the more so when it involves a trusted professional who betrays that trust. That is what happened in a recent tax crime case.

In the case, a tax preparer based in Florida's Oakland Park has now pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. The U.S. district attorney assigned to the Southern District of Florida confirms that there was one count of each charge. With guilty pleas entered for both, the man, 44, now faces sentencing.

That sentencing will occur on June 5, at which time he will appear before a U.S. District Court judge. The man, who is from Margate, Florida, may face as much as a 20-year sentence on the wire fraud charge. Additionally, he is expected to face a mandatory two-year sentence for the identity theft charge. That sentence will be added consecutively to the exact number of years he gets for wire fraud.

Court documents affirm that as the owner of a tax preparation service, the man stole personal identifying information of individuals. He then used it to fraudulently secure income tax refunds in their names. Finally, he cashed the checks at a check cashing place using fake identifications. In total, he sought about $355,000 in fraudulent refunds, with his victims totaling between 10 and 50.

Tax crimes are serious and the penalties can be high. The advice of a Florida criminal defense attorney can prove invaluable for those that must navigate the complex legal system.

Source: Examiner, "Tax preparer pleads guilty in identity theft and tax fraud scheme" William E. Lewis Jr., Mar. 21, 2014

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