According to a Department of Justice press release, a New Jersey man was recently convicted of various tax crimes relating to a scheme that he and several co-conspirators partook in to scam not only the government, but unknowing clients who thought that he was a bona fide tax professional. The moral of this story is that when you need help with a tax-related matter, seek guidance from a seasoned tax attorney with experience representing taxpayers from all walks of life.
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Court documents reveal that Kenneth Crawford Jr. was recently convicted of conspiring to defraud the United States, obstructing the internal revenue laws, and filing false claims. Evidence that was introduced at trial proved that Crawford and several co-conspirators worked together as part of a tax refund scheme that was marketed to individuals who were struggling to make or were behind on their mortgage payments.
As a part of the scam, Crawford and his co-conspirators provided clients with false IRS forms that they purported would result in the IRS sending large refund payments that were intended to pay off the mortgages of the clients. In reality, the forms that Crawford and his associates filed claimed that the clients had significantly over withheld and that large refunds were due. According to IRS Criminal Investigations, over $2.5 million in refunds were claimed and more than $1.3 million were actually paid before the IRS realized that there was something fishy afoot. Crawford and his co-conspirators typically kept 25 percent of any refunds received for clients.
Upon discovery of the scheme, the IRS quickly began collection efforts to recover the improperly disbursed refunds. Crawford instructed clients to move money out of their personal bank accounts, avoid discussing the matter with the IRS, and to file fictitious paperwork with the IRS that would further thwart their recovery efforts. Additionally, Crawford instructed clients to minimize his and his associates’ roles in the refund claim process.
Sentencing is scheduled for March of 2020. Crawford faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge, three years in prison for the count related to obstructing the internal revenue laws, and five years in prison for each count of filing a false claim. Crawford will also likely be sentenced to serve a period of supervised release after his physical incarceration. Finally, Crawford will likely be ordered to pay restitution to the IRS for the amounts of tax refunds that were fraudulently sent to his clients.
The defendant from the above story sold his services to clients who were looking to take part in a government program to pay off their mortgages. Obviously, such a program does not currently exist. But there are plentiful opportunities for individuals and businesses to lower their tax liabilities through the use of careful and completely legal tax planning strategies. Meeting with a seasoned tax attorney with experience in tax planning and employing tax optimization strategies can help save money on state or federal income taxes.
The tax and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have extensive experience representing a diverse group of taxpayers. From individuals to middle market businesses and beyond, our team of zealous advocates will assist in the development of a strategy to help you reach your specific goals and objectives. Whether you are under a tax examination (audit) or criminal tax investigation are in need of tax planning advice, contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today, online or by phone at (800) 681-1295, for a reduced-rate consultation.
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