As the Florida tax season comes to a close, it is not surprising that the authorities have been on the lookout for potential tax crimes. In recent weeks, investigators have arrested 25 suspects who they believe committed federal crimes. The accused persons have been charged with identity theft and filing fraudulent tax returns.
The authorities claim that the tax crime bust uncovered an estimated 14,000 victims who had their identities stolen. The investigators suspect that the 25 accused individuals attempted to file a collective $36 million worth of refund claims, and $9.5 million was actually paid out. Over the past few years, these crimes have become a huge problem, not only in Florida but across the country as well, making it the country’s fastest growing crime.
While most of the details behind the arrests of the majority of the suspects remain secret, some details about a few of suspects were released to the public. Three public school employees are accused of stealing the identities of high school students to file approximately 200 false tax returns. Additionally, four persons are accused of stealing the identities of former and current inmates, and one former postal worker is accused of providing addresses to co-conspirators.
While the specifics of each alleged crime are extremely varied, one thing remains constant: tax fraud and other white collar federal crimes can be hard for prosecutors to link back to a specific individual. While the Florida police are boasting such a large number of arrests, each individual will still need to go through the criminal process, which gives them the opportunity to defend themselves against the accusations. As they form their criminal defenses, they would benefit by fully exploring all options available to them in an effort to make the best decision for each individual.
Source: Miami Herald, “Feds charge 25 suspects with ID theft, tax fraud in South Florida take-down“, Jay Weaver, April 3, 2014