A Chicago woman was recently accused by federal prosecutors of defrauding the IRS. She and two others allegedly filed false tax returns for clients and then received the refunds.
The three women each face 10 counts of wire fraud and five counts of aggravated identity theft.
The 44-year-old Chicago woman was indicted along with a 31-year-old Indianapolis woman and a 32-year-old from Merrillville, Indiana. The trio allegedly filed hundreds of fraudulent tax returns that generated large, improper refunds. The clients were then charged inflated fees as high as $3,000, prosecutors claimed in court documents.
According to a news report, the women are also accused of filing fraudulent personal returns as well.
Prosecutors said the scheme began in January of 2014 and ran until February of last year.
The trio are said to have generated fake W-2 forms, false itemized deductions and statements that listed fictional profits and losses.
The two Indiana women were additionally charged with aggravated ID theft after allegedly using clients’ names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and other identifying information on false tax returns.
Earlier this year, the IRS released a statement about its increasing enforcement efforts against identity theft and refund fraud. The federal agency said, “Sentences handed down for convictions relating to identity theft have been significant, ranging from two months to 317 months.”
The IRS also said the number of identity theft investigations it has launched has increased by 66 percent since 2012.
If you have been notified that you are under investigation or if you have been arrested and charged with tax fraud, identity theft or related crimes, do not speak to investigators or prosecutors until you have talked over your options with an attorney experienced in white collar defense.