Fraudsters will try just about anything to make a buck—even creating a fictional world in which the government is bankrupt, the country is owned by England, and that tax refunds are available through a secret government account. That’s the latest according to a recent story in The Washington Post.
The article reports that 55 people were indicted in a $250 million income tax fraud scam following an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) called “Operation Stolen Treasures.” The scam allegedly involved people purporting to be attorneys, ex-IRS agents, and accountants who told their customers that tax refund dollars were available through a secret government account. Now that’s a conspiracy theory. I bet there are a few of us out there that wish there was a secret government account to help pay for social services, teachers, police officers, and fire fighters.
According to the story, firms filed 35 bogus returns seeking $19 million in refunds with one firm allegedly filing a fake tax refund claim for nearly $4.7 million. When the IRS sent letters to customers warning of the scam, the firm told customers the letters were sent because the “IRS did not want to pay.” Five million dollars in refund checks were distributed erroneously. At least they didn’t make their $250 million target.
So the question for the day is…how can the IRS fight fraudsters?