Supermarket Special

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42658364 - hand is taking the shopping basket in the market

Today, shoppers can accomplish multiple tasks at their local supermarket, while saving time and money. Shoppers can pick up everything they need for a tasty meal, fill a prescription, and even withdraw money or deposit a check at their bank branch located near the checkout line. According to an article published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a father and son used a bank branch within a California supermarket to scam the Internal Revenue Service of $2.6 million. (Apparently, fraudsters also need to save time when shopping for groceries, picking up necessities, and cashing fraudulent tax refund checks.)

The story states that the father and son pair used the names and Social Security numbers of victims without their knowledge to submit fraudulent tax returns, instructing the refund checks to be sent to addresses controlled by the two. The two men filed at least 275 fraudulent income tax returns with the IRS seeking refunds worth more than $2.6 million.

The 64-year-old father pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the federal government and was sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison. The 40-year-old son is serving a two-and-a-half-year prison term after pleading guilty to the same charge. The son was also ordered to pay $725,000 in restitution. Let’s not forget about the bank branch manager who earned a 20 percent cut for each refund check he cashed. He has also pleaded guilty to charges against him and is awaiting sentencing.

No doubt that this father and son duo thought their tax refund fraud scheme was special and hiding it behind a grocery store bank branch was clever. However, the government eventually wins when it comes to fraud. While these two serve out their time behind bars, these criminals who defrauded the federal government and hundreds of taxpayers, are getting exactly what they deserve.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Hacienda Heights man gets 30 months in prison for father-son tax return scheme,” published by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on June 8, 2016.

LOS ANGELES >> A Hacienda Heights man began serving a two-and-a-half-year prison term after he was sentenced for his role in a scheme that netted more than $2.6 million in bogus tax returns using stolen identities, authorities said.

Heber Cotton, 40, pleaded guilty late last year to a count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government by obtaining the payment of fraudulent tax refunds, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement. U.S. District Judge Michael W. Firzgerald handed down the 30-month prison term Monday in federal court in Los Angeles.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.