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Tax crimes plea in federal court for former D.C. tax examiner

Massachusetts readers may be interested in the effect of a 2007 incident of tax fraud worth $48 million, which led Washington, D.C., to implement "enhanced control techniques" intended to detect any fraudulent tax-related activity in the future. These measures recently played a part in the discovery of a four-year tax refund scheme enacted by a tax examiner who worked for the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue (DCOTR). The incident resulted in more than $400,000 essentially stolen from taxpayers. The 47-year old woman who was charged recently pled guilty to wire fraud in a Washington, D.C., federal court.

The former tax examiner admitted that she stole hundreds of thousands of dollars while working for the DCOTR. Although she was hired in 2001, the infractions took place from 2007 through earlier this year. The activities to which she pled guilty entailed crediting taxpayer accounts with misappropriated withholding adjustments, then routing the money to two personal accounts that she controlled. The woman also completed fraudulent adjustments that resulted in five other individuals receiving more than $45,000 in tax refunds to which they weren't entitled. The woman is scheduled to be sentenced in February of next year.

Tax law is intricate and complicated, and tax crimes are taken seriously. Those found guilty could face serious punishment that might include significant fines and quite possibly prison time. While federal investigations are undoubtedly thorough, it's important that all the facts surrounding alleged tax crimes are properly evaluated and considered. Massachusetts residents who are headed to tax court should strongly consider seeking out skilled consultation. Not everyone accused of tax crimes is guilty.

Source: Washington Post, "Former D.C. examiner admits refund fraud," Del Quentin Wilber, Oct. 20, 2011

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