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Missouri Woman Sentenced to Two and a Half Years in Prison for Tax Fraud

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    According to a Department of Justice press release, a Missouri woman was recently sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison for her role in a tax refund scheme. This story should remind taxpayers that fraudulently preparing your tax return to inflate your refund, or to claim a refund that you are not entitled to, can lead to serious criminal and civil consequences. If you have filed a tax returns with knowingly false information, such as understated income, overstated items of deduction, or the claiming of credits to which you are not entitled, you should contact an experienced tax defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options to get right with the government without facing criminal tax prosecution.

    Note: As long as a taxpayer that has willfully committed tax crimes (potentially including non-filed domestic or foreign tax and information returns coupled with affirmative evasion of U.S. income tax on domestic or 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!

    Defendant Committed Tax Fraud to Obtain Phony Refunds

    Court records reveal that Heather Neal, 35, of Springfield, Missouri, was engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government by working with others to claim tax returns to which they were not entitled to. Prosecutors alleged that Neal and John Sedersten, an inmate in a Missouri county jail, along with others, filed tax returns for other individuals to dupe the IRS into paying a plethora of illegal tax refund claims.

    Investigators discovered that Sedersten, from his county jail cell, orchestrated the scheme by providing his co-conspirators, including Neal, with detailed instructions on how to prepare and file the false federal income tax returns in question. The co-conspirators filed returns that included wages that had not actually been earned, associated employment tax withholding that had not actually been withheld, and business expenses for a phony business. Additionally, Neal filed a false tax return under her own name, claiming a fraudulent tax refund of $9,864. In total, the conspiracy yielded over $373,000 in false refunds.

    Getting Back on Track After Falling Out of Tax Compliance

    Although the case from the story above involved a wild conspiracy involving jailhouse conversations and hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraudulent refunds, the reality is that the IRS investigates, and the Department of Justice prosecutes for much less. In fact, many prosecutions for tax evasion involve average Americans who thought that their failure to file a tax return or attempt to lessen their tax liability would go unnoticed. When tax noncompliance compounds year over year, a taxpayer can find themself overwhelmed with stress and in very hot water with the IRS.

    If you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years or have attempted to decrease your tax liability or increase your refund by underreporting income, overreporting deductions, or claiming credits you are not entitled to, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney to develop a strategy to come into tax compliance. Working with a seasoned tax attorney, you will first work to identify your civil and criminal exposures. Then, you will mutually agree on a roadmap to come into compliance. Along the way, your tax defense lawyer will represent you in any interactions with the IRS so you can focus on the other important parts of your life, like our family and business.

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