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Las Vegas Couple Faces More Than 15 Years in Prison After Criminal Tax Indictment

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    According to a Department of Justice press release, a Las Vegas couple was recently indicted on several counts, including tax evasion after federal prosecutors alleged that they filed false income tax returns for several years and attempted to thwart IRS collection efforts once their scheme was discovered. This story illustrates the potential consequences of failing to properly file true and accurate tax returns. It further provides insight as to the additional charges that taxpayers can face if they attempt to dodge the collection of taxes after the IRS has established a liability. If you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years, have failed to properly reflect your true income on a filed tax return, or have an outstanding tax debt, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney to discuss your options to efficiently come into tax compliance.

    Defendants Accused of Dodging Taxes for Over a Decade

    Court records reveal that Scott and Debra Lawrence, a couple from Las Vegas, Nevada were engaged in the real estate and interior design businesses, respectively. Prosecutors allege that between 2005 and 2020, the defendants filed tax returns that did not properly reflect their true income. After an IRS audit and the determination that the couple owed far more taxes than they had paid when filing their tax returns, Department of Justice attorneys argue that the couple engaged in various evasive tactics to avoid paying their tax bill. Such tactics included cashing large portions of their paychecks, thereby avoiding the effect of IRS levies and other collection methods. Additionally, Lawrences are accused of failing to pay their 2014 through 2018 federal tax bill, altogether.

    A federal grand jury charged Scott and Debra Lawrence with conspiring to defraud the United States, tax evasion, filing a false tax return, assisting in the filing of a false tax return, and failing to file tax returns and pay federal income taxes. If convicted, each defendant faces more than 15 years in prison and up to three years of supervised release. If convicted, the couple will likely be ordered to pay restitution to the IRS, representing the tax loss allegedly caused by the defendants. The IRS and Department of Justice estimate that the Lawrence’s caused a tax loss of more than $1.7 million.

    Coming into Compliance Before the IRS Initiates an Investigation

    This story clearly shows how failing to file accurate tax returns has the potential to be life changing. The defendants in this case face more than a decade and a half in federal prison and more than $1.7 million of potential restitution payments. Although the defendants in the case described above are accused of ducking their federal tax obligations for over a decade, the same charges could be brought against a taxpayer who has failed to file a return or pay their tax debt for just a handful of years. Thus, it is imperative that taxpayers come into tax compliance before the IRS initiates an investigation or the Department of Justice seeks to file criminal charges.

    If you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years or have taken a position on a tax return that is not truthful, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced tax defense attorney. Together, you will determine the level of civil or criminal exposure that you face and develop a plan to efficiently bring you into compliance without facing criminal tax prosecution. Although every tax case is different, there is generally one constant: those who continue to evade taxes or dodge IRS collection efforts are only exacerbating the problem. Working with a seasoned tax attorney will allow you to clear up your potential exposure and let you focus on what matters.

    Note: As long as a taxpayer that has willfully committed tax crimes (potentially including non-filed foreign information returns coupled with affirmative evasion of U.S. income tax on offshore income) self-reports the tax fraud (including a pattern of non-filed returns) through a domestic or offshore voluntary disclosurebefore the IRS has started an audit or criminal tax investigation / prosecution, the taxpayer can ordinarily be successfully brought back into tax compliance and receive a nearly guaranteed pass on criminal tax prosecution and simultaneously often receive a break on the civil penalties that would otherwise apply. 

    It is imperative that you hire an experienced and reputable criminal tax defense attorney to take you through the voluntary disclosure process. Only an Attorney has the Attorney Client Privilege and Work Product Privileges that will prevent the very professional that you hire from being potentially being forced to become a witness against you, especially where they prepared the returns that need to be amended, in a subsequent criminal tax audit, investigation or prosecution.

    Moreover, only an Attorney can enter you into a voluntary disclosure without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (a crime in itself). Only an Attorney trained in Criminal Tax Defense fully understands the risks and rewards involved in voluntary disclosures and how to protect you if you do not qualify for a voluntary disclosure.

    As uniquely qualified and extensively experienced Criminal Tax Defense Tax Attorneys, KovelCPAs and EAs, our firm provides a one stop shop to efficiently achieve the optimal and predictable results that simultaneously protect your liberty and your net worth. See our Testimonials to see what our clients have to say about us!

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