Being convicted of a criminal tax violation is no joke. These convictions carry harsh penalties including fines and possibly jail time. The IRS is unsympathetic and will prosecute cases to the fullest extent possible. Such was the case for Gene Jirak, 42, a man who submitted two false claims to the IRS seeking more than $100,000 in tax refunds. At trial, jurors learned that Jirak orchestrated a plan where he claimed that financial institutions withheld taxes and then submitted fabricated tax documents issued by the financial institutions to support his claims.

The first return was submitted as an amended joint tax return. He used his ex-wife’s name and social security number, and forged her signature on the return without her permission. The IRS subsequently issued a tax refund check for more than $69,000. Jirak took the check and deposited it in his personal account by again forging his ex-wife’s signature. For his actions, Jirak faced a minimum of 2 years of incarceration and a maximum sentence of 42 years, a $1 million fine, $500 in special assessments, and 13 years of supervised release after imprisonment. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade sentenced Jirak to 4 years in prison and he is expected to surrender to the U.S. Marshal on November 5.

This case illustrates the serious consequences facing individuals convicted of criminal tax activity. Federal prison sentences are particularly grim because there is no parole unlike the state prison system and judges often have to follow mandatory sentencing guidelines. If you find yourself in this or a similar position it may be helpful to speak to a knowledgeable criminal tax attorney.