What not to do when you’re the subject of a criminal tax investigaiton

Let’s be honest, here. There is likely only one type of feeling that floods one’s body after they have learned that they are the subject of a federal or state criminal tax investigation: fear. The actions that you take after you have learned the news that you are facing a criminal tax investigation can to some extent dictate how the situation is going to unfold, and may ultimately determine whether you spend the next several years free or in prison. A Missouri man found out the hard way that consulting an experienced tax defense attorney is a decidedly better solution to a pending federal tax crime investigation than simply fleeing the country.

Scott Christopher Lucas, 57, of Missouri, found himself being sentenced to over two years in prison on Tuesday for tax evasion. According to local news reports, Lucas found out that he was being investigated for failing to file a tax return and decided that it was in his best interest to leave the United States and hide out in Mexico. The report states that Lucas had made over $700,000 from the sale of timeshares between tax years 2002 and 2005. When the government found out that he had left the country, they filed the necessary paperwork to designate Lucas as an “international wanted person”. Lucas hid out in Mexico for over seven years before he voluntarily returned to the United States to receive medical treatment. According to the report, he was arrested at the Denver International Airport upon his return.

In addition to failing to file a tax return, Lucas lied during initial conversations that he had with taxing authorities. He reportedly concealed ownership of a home, and several luxury items such as an SUV and a houseboat. Lucas likely knew that the government would catch him in his lies at some point and that fleeing would be his best option to ensure his freedom. But that simply wasn’t and isn’t the case.

Knowing When to Contact an Experienced Criminal Tax Defense Attorney

One of the best actions that a taxpayer that has recently found out that they are being examined or investigated by a taxing authority can take is contacting an experienced criminal tax defense attorney. At an initial consultation, the taxpayer and attorney can establish what the relevant facts are and set out a plan to minimize or eliminate the negative consequences that can come from a criminal tax investigation. Even if the situation hasn’t escalated to a criminal investigation, a tax attorney can help ensure that an audit or examination doesn’t get to that point.

Many taxpayers make the common mistake of going into an IRS or state tax examination without any representation. Taxpayers sometimes fail to realize that the revenue agents that they are interacting with are like trained bloodhounds and know what questions to ask and what documents to request to help build a solid case against them. Having the assistance of an experienced criminal tax defense attorney will ensure that you only answer questions that are in your best interest to answer and only hand over documentation that is legally required. Furthermore, the government may offer an attractive plea bargain because they would rather you voluntarily admit guilt and pay a hefty penalty (and potentially spend time in prison) than have to do the leg work to take the case to trial. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help you weigh any options presented to you. In many cases, the Department of Justice will offer a deal if they believe that their case isn’t as strong as it could be. Only a tax defense attorney will be able to provide meaningful guidance on how to proceed.

The tax law and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have extensive experience in representing taxpayers from all walks of life in their disputes with the federal or state taxing authorities. Whether you have received an examination notice or are the target of a full-blown criminal investigation, our zealous advocates will help minimize the disruption to your life and try and secure a soft landing. Don’t let your tax problems keep you awake at night. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today for a reduced-rate initial consultation.