According to a Department of Justice press release, Jacqueline Ramos, also-known-as Jackie Acosta, of Salinas, California was recently sentenced to service five years in prison for her part in a conspiracy that involved the filing of false tax returns that resulted in the payment of over a million dollars of fraudulent tax refunds. This story is a reminder that those who cheat on their taxes and are caught will have a difficult time walking away from the situation unscathed. It is in the best interest of any taxpayer that has cheated or otherwise been out of compliance to consult with an experienced tax defense attorney to rectify the situation before it is too late.
Defendant Falsified Tax Returns, Received Fraudulent Refunds
According to prosecutors, Ramos, along with several co-defendants, conspired to file several false income tax returns that sought over $1.6 million in refunds from the IRS. The returns relied on falsified wages, tax credits, and dependents that did not exist. Additionally, the tax returns took advantage of provisions giving preferential treatment to certain educational expenses, which were also not actually incurred.
Court documents indicate that after the refunds were paid out, Ramos and her associates transferred the illegally-obtained proceeds into bank accounts that they controlled. All in all, Ramos pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, and two counts of bank fraud.
In addition to serving 60 months in prison, Ramos will serve three years of supervised release. Finally, she will be required to pay $1,641,610 in restitution to the U.S. government, representing the tax refunds that she and her co-conspirators fraudulently received.
IRS Audit Chances High When Filing False Returns with Bogus Deductions
Filing false tax returns in the hopes of receiving a refund from the IRS is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Because of that, the IRS has multiple safeguards in place in an effort to catch taxpayers who have falsified their taxes. As technology has improved, the IRS and state taxing authorities have implemented computer systems that read over tax returns at an incredible speed, identifying inconsistencies or other indications that the tax return may be incorrect or fraudulent. These inconsistencies could include (but certainly are not limited to) discrepancies between a taxpayer’s reported income and income reported on forms W-2 or 1099.
Once the IRS or state taxing agencies have determined that a tax return requires further analysis, they will typically dispatch a letter to the taxpayer that indicates that their tax return has been selected for examination. When the taxpayer sits down with the revenue agent, the return will be reviewed thoroughly. The IRS or state taxing revenue agent will be looking for “badges of fraud”, a term used by taxing authorities that describe items on a tax return accompanied by statements made by the taxpayer that would indicate that fraudulent activity has occurred.
Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Tax Defense Attorney
One of the most valuable benefits of having an experienced tax defense attorney present at the time of any interactions with the IRS or state taxing authorities is managing the flow of the examination. Many taxpayers believe that they can walk into a tax return examination and talk their way out of the situation. This typically is not the case. The IRS and state taxing authorities hire skilled revenue agents who are trained in sniffing out tax fraud. A tax attorney will ensure that the taxpayer only answers the questions that are required, without providing incriminating evidence that could be used later at trial, if the situation was escalated to that point.
Although not all taxpayers are caught, those who are typically receive harsh prison sentences and financially devastating fines and penalties. Gambling with your livelihood and hoping that the IRS will not detect your untruthful or incorrect tax return is not worth the potential of federal prison time. If you have taken positions on your tax returns that are inconsistent with the tax law, it is imperative that you contact an experienced tax defense lawyer to help you devise a plan to manage the situation. Taxpayers, with the help of their experienced tax attorneys, who affirmatively take steps to mitigate past tax missteps are better positioned to reduce or, in some cases, eliminate the threat of damaging financial penalties or criminal charges.
Contact a Tax Defense Attorney Today
The tax and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have represented countless numbers of taxpayers from a variety of walks of life. Whether you are facing an IRS income tax examination or a business tax audit, our team of zealous advocates is ready to assist you in developing a strategy aimed at maintaining your physical and financial freedom. Do not let the IRS or the state taxing authorities cause you to lose sleep. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today for a reduced-rate consultation.
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