We all know that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. And, tax season is upon us. (It’s better than the alternative.) It’s time to watch out for tax refund and identity fraudsters. That’s a message at least 240 people probably wished they had heard, based on today’s Fraud of the Day from the Memphis Business Journal.
The article reports the defendant paid individuals to “obtain” the personal identification information – including names, Social Security numbers (SSNs) and birth dates of unknowing victims. The indictment and information discussed at sentencing indicated from September 4, 2009, to October 28, 2011, the defendant and these other individuals used the “victims’ personal information and filed more than 240 false tax returns.” They opened bank accounts and had the tax refunds electronically deposited into the bank accounts.
And, how much did this fraudster make with his scam? Over $700,000.
So, how did the defendant spend his money? He spent it at casinos (of course) and bought several luxury cars (this is fraudster 101 – you gotta have the cool cars), which have since been seized by the government.
The defendant was sentenced to 12 years in prison for income tax fraud and identity theft. In addition, he was ordered to pay $791,616 in restitution and received three years of supervised release after his 12-year stint in prison. (Let’s throw the judge a parade!)
Death and taxes may be the only things certain in life. Even so, it’s a pretty sure bet that the defendant in this case is going to be wishing he was counting his money at a casino instead of checking in during the prison’s head count. Let’s hope he doesn’t bring his tax refund and identity fraud scam to prison.