Lying is not always illegal, but the act does carry some serious consequences if it is related to a federal crime. (For instance, it would be best not to tell a lie while under oath with a police officer or a judge.) Making a false claim on a personal tax return also can get someone into a heap of trouble with the federal government. The Daily Herald reports on a Utah man, who not only lied on his personal income tax return, but also helped other people to file false claims. (The more the merrier.)

The story states that the Spanish Fork man filed a false tax return in 2008, claiming a refund of $32,115. Over a period of time between December 2008 and May 2009, the 65-year old man also assisted other people with filing false claims worth more than $600,000. In total, the fraudster was involved with false claims of $653,884.

The man pleaded guilty to nine counts of filing false claims for income tax returns. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss for each false claim charge. (I like this judge!) Apparently, the government paid some of the claims, but not all of them.

The article doesn’t state whether or not the fraudster also collected the refunds for the false tax returns. Either way, he is responsible for stealing money from the government and American taxpayers. The federal government is serious about prosecuting tax refund fraud and the sentence handed down in this case seems like fair punishment for the crime.

  1. I believe that the size of the refund should alert the system and that it should be held until it has been determined to be a true amount. Previously, there were reviews of EITC refunds that were put on hold until it was determined that the claim was allowable, and that was on many returns that went through the system. The system should be able to identify large refund amounts and then have them pulled for reivew or even audit if there are other indicators that there may be a problem with the return as filed.

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