There are all sorts of offenses that go under the broad label of "white collar." Many of these are federal crimes, such as mail fraud or wire fraud.
In fact, the term "fraud" is a modifier for many types of federal white-collar offenses. And that includes tax fraud.
In a recent St. Louis tax fraud case, a 26-year-old man admitted he had filed at least 47 false tax returns. The man was from Tennessee, but he used a St. Louis tax preparation service to submit wrongful claims for a tax credit. He pleaded guilty this week to a federal conspiracy charge in connection with the scheme.
In his admission, the man acknowledged that in 2010 he had filed fraudulent tax returns through a tax preparation franchise in St. Louis. The returns falsely claimed a tax credit called the Americans Opportunity credit, intended to encourage people to encourage people with low or moderate financial means to attend college.
Because of the false tax credit, the U.S. Treasury paid out more than $53,000 in false tax refunds. This was part of a broader scheme that allegedly resulted in more than $350,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.
Federal authorities have also charged five other tax preparers from the Missouri tax prep service. Sentencing for the 26-year-old Tennessee man is scheduled for May 30. He faces 18-24 months in prison. The sentence will also include a requirement to repay the U.S. government for the money obtained from the false tax refund claims.
The IRS has been seeking to extend its regulatory powers over tax preparers. As this case shows, however, sometimes law enforcement gets involved as well.
Source: "Tennessee man admits tax crimes in St. Louis," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Patrick, 2-25-13
Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post in the St. Louis area. To learn more about our practice, please visit our federal crimes defense page.