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Posted by on in Fraud

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerWhen most people think of tax fraud, they typically think of a person that tries to avoid paying the proper taxes they owe and then get charged with tax evasion. While that is certainly one type of criminal offense involving taxes, there are others as well. These offenses fall under the umbrella term of tax fraud and many people can be charged with these crimes, including accountants, without even realizing that they engaged in criminal activity.

What Is Tax Fraud?

Tax fraud, in its simplest terms, occurs when a person makes intentional misrepresentations, or false statements, on a tax return, or a person falsifies tax documents. Tax evasion, on the other hand, refers to using illegal means to avoid paying taxes. Tax fraud is governed under 26 U.S.C. 7206 (1) and under this statute, a person may face charges of tax fraud if they:


Posted by on in Fraud
Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerApproaching tax season, many taxpayers in Illinois and across the country are thinking about their tax return. It is a frustrating time, as some people may owe income taxes, but the Internal Revenue Code itself is extremely confusing. It is also changing all the time, making it even more difficult to keep up on all the different tax laws. Understanding these laws is crucial. The IRS may consider just one mistake on a tax return fraud, which could result in severe penalties for the taxpayer. Below are some of the most common mistakes misinterpreted as tax fraud. These are sometimes referred to as “accidental fraud.”

Incorrect or Incomplete Information

 Before filing an income tax return, it needs to be double-checked and then checked again. Even a mistake in basic information such as a social security number or address can result in a charge of tax fraud. Incomplete tax returns are easier to file than some may think. This is particularly true when someone is claiming a credit. Claiming credits often requires the taxpayer to fill out additional forms. When the credit is claimed but the respective form is not filled out, this makes the return incomplete. Most of these mistakes will not lead to charges of tax fraud. However, if additional mistakes are made or there are extenuating circumstances around the return, even these simple errors could result in criminal charges. Inaccurate Deductions It is difficult for taxpayers to understand what counts as a valid deduction and what does not. When deductions for a business are involved, it is even more challenging. Any deductions claimed are subtracted from a person’s overall income. The more claimed, the less a person may owe in income taxes. It is for this reason the IRS consider inaccurate deductions as tax fraud. They also understand it is difficult to know all possible deductions, which is why they have created a guideline of credits and deductions on their site. Even the simple mistake of claiming a lunch as a business lunch when it was not can result in a charge of tax fraud. This is why it is so important to also double check any deductions, and ensure they are accurate. Omitting Income All Americans are required to fill out their income tax return completely and honestly. This includes detailing all income earned the previous year. When the IRS suspects a person of not claiming all of their income, that person is likely to get audited. If the IRS finds unclaimed income, they can then press charges for tax evasion. This mistake is also an easy one to make. Even a small oversight such as leaving tips unclaimed can result in a tax evasion charge. Unlawful Tax Shelters A tax shelter is a financial agreement a person makes in order to pay fewer taxes. They are legal, however, there are tax shelters that operate illegally. This is often difficult for the taxpayer, as they may not even know a tax shelter is illegal until it is too late. However, the IRS can still hold them responsible for creating or using the shelter. Tax Return Preparer Fraud The tax laws in the country are very confusing, which is why so many taxpayers hire a knowledgeable professional to complete their tax returns for them. In most cases, tax preparers are scrupulously honest and careful with these returns. Sometimes though, a tax preparer may inflate a person’s income so that they get paid more. Like unlawful tax shelters, a taxpayer that made the mistake of hiring the tax preparer may have no idea they are dishonest until it is too late. Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney for Help Today

Facing tax fraud charges, like facing charges of any federal crime, is very scary. It is extremely challenging for those that thought they were simply following the law by filing their tax returns on time. However, charges do not have to lead to a conviction. A dedicated Chicago tax fraud lawyer can help. If you have been charged with tax fraud, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel at 312-629-0669 for a free consultation. We know the tax laws, and we know how easy it is to make a simple mistake. Do not go up against the IRS alone. Get the help you need by contacting us today.



Posted by on in Fraud

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Ilinois criminal statutesTax season is about to come to a close, and many of us are hurrying to get our taxes filed before today's deadline, the last day of the 2018 tax season. While most of us have either used do-it-yourself (DIY) tax preparation platforms, others have relied on accountants or certified tax professionals to better assist us. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who fail to report certain incomes or documents on their tax return, which could lead to serious consequences.

Definition of Tax Evasion

Tax evasion is when a taxpayer misreports his or her income, credits, and deductions on tax returns, or if the taxpayer does not file a required tax return. Not everyone goes to prison for tax evasion; however, if the taxpayer conceals his or her assets and income that should be used to pay back taxes, more serious consequences may follow.

Illinois federal crimes attorney, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,Under the federal crime umbrella, tax-related crimes that involve stealing someone’s identity are taken very seriously, just like every other form of identity theft. Anytime someone knowingly, willingly collects someone’s personal information, such as a name and social security number, to gain or conceal profit, they are committing a federal crime and are subject to severe penalties. What Is the Purpose Behind Tax-Related Identity Theft?

While the concept behind stealing someone’s personal information is the same for all forms of identity theft, the purpose behind tax-related identity theft differs. Social security numbers are extremely valuable pieces of personal identification. Criminals use them to open up new credit card accounts, manipulate healthcare policies and a variety of other insurance policies, and to access all kinds of funds that do not belong to them. When a social security number is used for tax-related theft purposes, the goal behind the crime is usually to steal a tax refund or obtain a job of some sort.

How Is the Crime Uncovered?

Tax identity theft is typically discovered when the IRS send an individual a notice that they were paid by a specific employer, but the person does not actually know the employer, or when more than one tax return was filed under their social security number. For example, when tax season rolls around and an individual files their return and does not report a second job, the IRS assumes they have failed to report their total income, and in turn will mail a notice to the person. This alerts the victim that someone else has been using their information for tax purposes. Once the crime is discovered, credit fraud alerts are initiated, identity theft complaints are filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and then police reports are filed until the crime is completely uncovered and resolved.


Posted by on in White Collar Crime
Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerMost of us associate violence, drugs, and weapons with gangs in America, but law enforcement agencies across the country report a surprising new activity gang members have taken up: financial fraud. Authorities say major gangs are increasingly getting involved in financial crimes like check fraud and identify theft, largely due to the fact that the payout is much higher than typical gang related activity. Additionally, financial fraud is more difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect, and officials say large sums of money are on the line. Less Risk, More Reward Officials say they were caught off guard by the recent number of gang related financial crimes, but are not surprised by the growing trend. Financial crimes are harder for authorities to detect, and often carry softer prison sentences compared to the activities gangs are typically associated with, such as gun violence and theft. Most importantly, however, is the large amount of money gangs across the country are reaping in. While no official report has been released detailing just how much money is at stake, recent attempts by gang members have been ambitious. Just last summer, a members of the Outlaw Gangsta Crips in Brooklyn were caught using fake checks to withdraw money from popular banks like Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase. Authorities say the gang brought in over $500,000 before being caught. In another recent case, California authorities thwarted members of the Long Beach Crip gang from stealing $14.3 million through tax-fraud and identity-theft. Gangs have increasingly turned to white collar crimes over the past few years, and officers across the country are being trained to monitor gangs for more than their typical activities. “We think of gang members being knuckleheads, but these guys are using a sophisticated thought process and getting involved in stuff that requires technology and an understanding of the banking system,” says one California detective. In New York, authorities say gang members are found with forged credit cards so frequently, they have come to call them “the new drug.” This new trend is challenging for agencies across the country, many of whom have different groups assigned to handling financial crime and gang activity. Along with credit card fraud and identity theft, officials say they are seeing more check fraud from gang members as well. New York authorities caught members of the SNOW gang who would steal checks from mailboxes and rewrite them, allowing their conspirators to cash the checks themselves. The SNOW members alone cashed nearly $35,000 in fake checks, and authorities say the problem will likely continue to grow across the country. For now, agencies are doing their best to educate agents to identify these types of activities and help prevent them from harming innocent citizens. Facing Charges? You Need Help

If you are facing charges related to a white-collar crime such as bank fraud, you need the help of a qualified Chicago area criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney represents clients facing these types of serious legal charges, and has successfully helped many clients avoid major prison sentences and other harsh penalties. Serious charges require strong representation, so do not wait to seek help. Call 312-629-0669 today to schedule your free consultation with us to learn more.


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