Taking Advantage of Company Perks

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Company perks are great? Whether you have an office full of extensive coffee selections or complimentary gym memberships, the little ”extra” is usually an enjoyable treat. For fraudsters, company perks may be a bit dangerous, especially when these individuals take things that aren’t meant to be a perk (like knowledge of the tax refund system or potentially others’ identities) and use them for their own advantage. A Silver City Sun-News article reveals how one tax preparer may have taken advantage of his position to scam the federal government (a.k.a. the American taxpayer) by committing tax refund fraud. Wonder if there are any ”perks” to making license plates?

A Silver City, New Mexico tax preparer found himself sizzling in the sun when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Criminal Investigation team came knocking on his door. Investigators found that the man obtained stolen identities and used them to prepare and collect money from false tax refunds. Court records show the man filed 15 returns with the false information between 2007 and 2010, totaling over $122,000. But, how did he get away with the money?

The article reported that the fraudster used an anonymizer to help conceal the locations from which he electronically submitted the tax forms. (Nothing pre-meditated about that, is there?? He told officials that he used his own, as well as others’ bank accounts to accept the refunds. (Inside knowledge can get you in trouble.) A judge sentenced him to serve 48 months in prison, as well as pay restitution in the amount of $911,000. He is also subject to three years of supervised release following his jail time.

A special agent on the IRS Criminal Investigation team stated? ”The IRS is aggressively pursuing criminals who steal others’ identities in order to file false tax returns.’? This is a statement that is being heard well throughout the Silver City area of New Mexico, warning fraudsters that they are under watch.

It’s times like these where you want to look at the fraudster post-sentencing and say, ”Gotcha!’? But we can reserve such comments, as we know the hefty jail time and restitution penalty will alleviate some of the aggravation of the crime.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Silver City Tax Preparer Sentenced to Four Years for Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud,” published by Silver City Sun-News on November 19, 2012.

SILVER CITY — A Silver City tax preparer was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $1 million dollars in restitution for filing false tax refunds.

Douglas J. Kuester, 43, was sentenced on Monday to 48 months in prison for filing false claims and aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced. Kuester was also ordered to pay $911,000 in restitution and will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.

 

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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.