Tax Fraud is rampant in the Tampa area in part due to the lax procedures of the IRS. There is literally a floodgate of  2014 tax return refund fraud in the Bay area. In the last year over 20,000 investigations into refund fraud have been opened. Few have resulted in successful prosecutions and this tax season thousands of innocent taxpayers are having their identities stolen as well as their refund money. It may take years to clear up their identity issues and many may never get their refunds, much less this year.
The IRS makes this fraud possible, if not easy, and steps could have been taken to prevent it. In recent Tampa drug busts and traffic stops the police confiscated tax return checks and hundreds of thousands in Turbo Tax debit cards. Once someone has a valid social security number, birth date and name, an electronic tax return can be filed and the IRS will issue a refund check often sent to an address where the checks are picked up daily. Sometimes, the refund comes in the way of a debit card which is then immediately exchanged for a gift card at a major store. The paper trail gets harder and harder to follow. The gift cards are sold at a discount and immediately used. The loss in dollars so far this year will probably be in the billions of dollars. All the IRS has to do is tighten the rules and control who gets the refund check or the debit card. In the rush to get refunds out as soon as possible, the IRS has made it too easy for identity thieves to scam the system. No one seems to be exempt. There have even been cases where relatives use identities of deceased relatives for fraudulent Federal Tax Returns.
As a Sarasota tax fraud lawyer, I have defended people who have innocently bought gift cards at a discount. I have also defended tax return preparers in Federal Court for preparing false tax returns. I have never seen anything on the scale of what is happening in Tampa. In the recent bust a large amount of cash was confiscated. It is unclear if the cash was connected to the drugs or the tax fraud but given the box of records also confiscated the good chance is that it was from the tax return fraud. If you are arrested in Bradenton or Sarasota for tax return refund fraud or possession of Walmart, Target or Best Buy gift cards, you may have a legitimate defense. If you are arrested in Bradenton or Sarasota for tax return refund fraud or possession of Walmart, Target or Best Buy gift cards, you may have a legitimate defense I have a good understanding of how these cases are prosecuted and defended. These cases involve arrests as far away as Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and as far south as Naples for refund fraud. Our criminal defense firm has offices in Sarasota, Punta Gorda and Ft. Myers. If you get contacted by the IRS and suspect you may be under investigation for income tax fraud or refund fraud, call to speak with an experienced tax fraud criminal defense attorney today at 941 366 3506.

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