Like any other organization, the IRS has judgment calls to make about its priorities.
Tax experts in Massachusetts are watching a case that involves federal prosecutors charging a Swiss asset manager for tax evasion through offshore trust funds at numerous banks in Switzerland. The 52-year-old citizen of Switzerland could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in custody for the tax crimes. Authorities have charged him with engaging in fraud for at least 13 years and claim he worked with at least five financial institutions in his native country on the scheme.
A recent tax case involving a woman who claimed that she didn't owe tax because she was not an American citizen was sentenced to five years in prison. The woman represented herself and reportedly did herself no favors by being rude and vocal toward prosecutors and the judge in her case. It also didn't help that she claimed over $8 million in tax refunds that she was not entitled to. She tried to claim that she was exempt from paying tax because she was a sovereign citizen, a status that people in Massachusetts and around the country have on occasion tried to claim.
A 70-year-old man formerly of Quincy was convicted for five counts of tax evasion as well as stealing funds from a federal housing assistance program. The man was also convicted of two counts of conspiracy and two counts of making false statements. The tax evasion convictions and related charges involved two elaborate schemes: one involving a false-invoice scheme and the other Section 8 housing fraud.The crime began after he was hired as a salesman by Xcel Fire Protection, an indoor sprinkler company. The man told Xcel's general manager that he owned several businesses, including a trucking company, moving and real estate business and a business equipment company. According to authorities, the man sent false invoices in the names of the companies that he owned to Xcel for goods or services that these businesses had never provided. The general manager authorized the company to pay the invoices by check. In exchange, the man gave the general manager 90 percent of the value of the checks while keeping 10 percent for himself. The man and the general manager did not pay the correct amount of income taxes toward the $490,000 that they received through these transactions.
A tax preparer received an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to submitting taxes filed incorrectly on behalf of her customers. The woman is 51 years old and pleaded guilty to the offense in November of 2012. According to authorities, the woman operated a Springfield, Massachusetts tax preparation business. Between February 2007 and April 2008, she knowingly prepared numerous fraudulent tax returns so that customers would receive larger tax refunds. A United States Attorney with the Department of Justice stated that the woman made misrepresentations to IRS representatives, provided false documents for customers to give to the Massachusetts Department of the Internal Revenue Service, and advised and told her customers to lie to the IRS. Authorities have discovered that the tax preparer is from the Dominican Republic and does not have a valid visa to be in the United States. The prosecution believes that the woman used identifying information from another person who is a legal United States resident to operate her business, open bank accounts, open credit cards and acquire a driver's license.
A New Jersey man pleaded guilty to a tax evasion scheme that resulted in hiding up to $4.7 million. The scheme also involved HSBC Holdings. According to the man's plea, he conspired with bankers from HSBC to hide some of his business assets from the Internal Revenue Service. The bankers in question were in New York, London and Geneva. The man is only one of many HSBC clients who is suspected of using undeclared accounts to commit tax evasion. According to the man's charging document, he and others used shell companies that were located in jurisdictions that had tax havens. The businesses were specifically created to hide ownership and who controlled the companies' assets and incomes from the Internal Revenue Service.
Professional football fans in Massachusetts and around the New England region may be familiar with the name Michael Bennett. Bennett, who played for several years in the NFL, maybe most notably with the Minnesota Vikings, pleaded guilty to wire fraud earlier this year and was sentenced last week to serve 15 months in prison for his crime.
A New England legislator convicted recently of tax crimes says that he is remorseful of his actions -- but he and his business partner could still receive up to eight years each in federal prison for their actions when they are sentenced later this year. The legislator pleaded guilty to tax fraud and conspiracy in federal court late last month.
A Worcester, Massachusetts, jury found two men and a woman guilty of multiple tax crimes. The Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department worked together to convict the trio of multiple tax crimes based on fraud. The charge stemmed from a payroll scheme in which the three paid employees with cash. The people also worked together to hide certain income and assets of employees as part of a so-called warehouse banking scheme. The three were also convicted because of taxes filed incorrectly in regard to their own income tax returns. One of the defendants received an additional conviction for tax evasion.
State and federal revenue criminal departments have different sets of criminal codes that are completely separate from one another: separate criminal charges, separate courts and separate punishments for breaking Massachusetts versus federal criminal statutes.