According to a Department of Justice press release, a New York pharmacist was charged with filing false tax returns and various charges relating to illegally possessing and distributing oxycodone. This story highlights the link between crimes that appear to be unrelated to taxation and tax fraud. Whether you are being investigated for a non-tax crime that may have criminal tax implications, or are out of tax compliance, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced civil and criminal tax defense attorney.
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Pharmacist Worked with Others to Fill Prescriptions, Sell Oxycodone
The recently unsealed federal grand jury indictment indicates that Daniel Russo, the owner and operator of Russo’s Pharmacy, Inc., allegedly worked with others, including doctors and other physicians, to prescribe and fill fake prescriptions of oxycodone. Once filled, Russo is alleged to have sold the pills and passed on a cut of the proceeds to the physicians and medical staff that assisted in the scheme. The alleged illegal activity occurred between early 2011 through mid-2014.
In addition to the drug charges described above, Russo was also charged with tax-related crimes that resulted from his alleged failure to report all of his business receipts on his pharmacy’s tax return. The unreported business income was predominantly related to the illegal oxycodone operation. Lastly, IRS Criminal Investigations and the Department of Justice alleged that Russo underreported income on his personal tax return when he failed to include over $1 million in cash that he received as part of the oxycodone operation.
If he is convicted, Russo faces up to three years in prison for each count of filing a false tax return and up to 20 years in prison for each count of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute. Additionally, Russo could also face a term of supervised release and monetary penalties such as restitution.
Government Agencies Frequently Work Together to Identify Tax Crimes
Most people do not think about the tax consequences that can and do follow illegal activity. Whether the crime be embezzlement, robbery, or in this case, the sale of drugs, taxpayers are required to reflect any accession to wealth on their federal and state tax returns. This story also reminds us that the IRS and other federal agencies work together to identify tax crimes. Even if the IRS does not select your tax return for examination on their own, they may open a criminal investigation after receiving a tip from another agency, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency or the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
When to Seek Help from a Tax Attorney
Whether you have engaged in illegal activity that is not tax-related or have simply been untruthful on your tax returns (or have failed to file a tax return, at all), it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney. Your criminal tax defense lawyer will work with you to establish the facts surrounding your situation and help develop a strategy to mitigate some of the harsh consequences that can come along with a criminal tax investigation, prosecution, and conviction. Many taxpayers believe that they can go up against the IRS alone, which is not advisable.
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Contact an Experienced Tax Attorney Today
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 or 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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