According to a Department of Justice press release, a woman from Maryland recently pleaded guilty to charges relating to the theft of government monies and identity theft. This story serves as yet another example of the IRS’ technological ability to detect red flags pertaining to inaccurate tax filings and refund claims.
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As a part of her guilty plea, Stephanie Twyman admitted that between 2011 and 2013, she and others conspired to fraudulently obtain tax refund checks through the filing of false income tax returns with the IRS. The government alleges that Twyman and her co-conspirators used the Social Security numbers, names, and addresses of individuals who were unemployed and not earning enough income to owe federal income tax.
Court documents indicate that after Twyman prepared the returns, sent them in for processing, and received a refund check in the mail, she would send the check to a local check cashing establishment. There, Twyman’s two co-conspirators would cash the checks with ease, as they were employed as tellers at the same check cashing business. Once the checks were cashed, the proceeds were brought back to Twyman, where she paid a portion to the tellers at the check cashing business and to the runners who transported the checks and the cash.
According to an estimate by the IRS, Twyman and her co-conspirators caused a tax loss of over $566,000. Twyman’s sentencing is scheduled for this October. She faces up to 10 years in prison on the single count of theft of government monies and faces a mandatory two-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft count. Additionally, Twyman will likely be sentenced to serve a period of supervised release after she is physically released from federal prison. Lastly, Twyman will likely be ordered to pay restitution to the IRS.
Every year, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of stories that come out of the federal and state governments that detail the indictments, prosecutions, and imprisonment of those individuals who have attempted to file refund claims, for themselves or others, with full knowledge that they are improper. Although the number of those individuals involved in these types of scams varies only slightly from year to year, IRS and Department of Justice efforts to combat all types of tax fraud and evasion have been ramped up.
As the IRS continues to have a need to fight false refund claims and identity theft, they continue to implement new technology that can scan over a tax return in seconds and make certain determinations about the return and whether an IRS agent should manually review it. That technology can also be used to detect other problems with tax return, helping the Service weed out other forms of tax evasion and tax fraud with lightning speed.
If you feel that you have made errors on your filed tax returns, the government has implemented tools that can pinpoint that mistake with greater ease and speed than ever before. Thus, it may be in your best interest to consult with an experienced tax defense attorney to get ahead of the potential problem. The strategy aimed at mitigating the harmful consequences of an improperly filed (or completely unfiled) tax return is dependent on the facts and circumstances of the case and should be developed with your attorney.
The tax and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have extensive experience representing taxpayers from all walks of life. Whether you are a business owner facing a sales and use tax audit or you have received notice that your individual return is being examined, our team of zealous advocates are standing by to help you develop a sound legal strategy that will keep your personal and financial interests at the forefront of importance. Do not lose sleep over the possibility of tax evasion or other tax-related charges from the IRS or state taxing authorities. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today for a reduced-rate consultation.
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