Florida prepares to go after tax refund fraud

It's the time of the year when people begin submitting their tax returns and waiting for that refund. Particularly after the holidays, that extra bit of money is much appreciated and can go a long way.

However, sometimes shooting for a large tax refund can come back to haunt you. 14 defendants in South Florida are facing charges of identity theft and tax refund fraud. Some of these defendants stole personal information from victims and used it to file false tax returns, then claiming the large refunds.

Federal law enforcement officials say this kind of offense is attractive because it can be very lucrative. Anyone who can gather the necessary identifying information about a victim can engage in such fraud. In response, the South Florida Identity Theft Tax Fraud Strike Force was formed in October 2012 to crack down on such offenses.

Federal charges of tax fraud or other white collar crime can come with serious penalties. You may be on the hook for fines or even prison time. Charges can also result in a lasting criminal record that will follow you for years. In matters involving taxes, there may be additional penalties due to the IRS, as well as back taxes.

If you are facing accusations of tax fraud or other form of white collar crime it is important to act quickly to protect your rights in the event of any criminal charges. Consider working with a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in the federal criminal code. He or she can work with you to evaluate the charges against you, build a strong defense and help you pursue the best possible result in your case.

Source: The Sun Sentinel, "Tax refund fraud like 'crack cocaine' for criminals, U.S. attorney says," Brett Clarkson, Feb. 6, 2013

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