Zombie Tax Service

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35905365 - computer hacker stealing data from a laptop concept for network security, identity theft and computer crime

It seems that zombies have become all the rage in media, infiltrating video games and popular TV shows. And, now the tax refund fraud racket? While the walking dead seem just short of a living nightmare, a Colorado duo may have thought they had found the perfect match for a new business venture, according to a Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) news release.

While some networks have found making zombies into a closely followed TV series a huge success, two defendants may have found it a tough angle to work around when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) came knocking at their door. According to the OIG, one of the defendants pleaded guilty to using the personal identification information of the deceased to file false tax return forms online. (When you deal with zombies, morals are thrown out the door.)The defendant admitted to working with an alleged co-conspirator to file claims in the amount of $1,834,011 through a Colorado entity that they established, controlled and operated. (They could have called their business: ”Tax Returns for Dead Guys.”)The OIG said that the duo rented office space and hired individuals to work for the entity, filing fraudulent tax returns from July 2009-October 2009.(This was a short gig for such a big risk.)

An investigation found that the strategy behind the tax scheme involved obtaining names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers (SSN), and other identifying information of deceased individuals from an online database. (I wonder which genealogical site they used? Zombies-r-us.com?)Officials say the two even went as far as to allocate a specific job for a hired ”employee” to create emails for the deceased individuals, a necessary piece of information needed when filing tax returns online. They also took the scam a step further by digging even deeper to obtain employer identification numbers (EINs) for various businesses. Officials say they then used these businesses to falsely claim that the deceased individuals had previously been employed during 2008. (What is the EIN for the local funeral home?)

The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 at his April sentencing.

Ok, so it seems that zombies transfer well into movies and video games, but not so well into fraud. What’s next fraudsters? I hear vampires are still the rave in popular culture!

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Colorado Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the IRS out of $1.8 Million,” published by the Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration on January 3, 2013.

Thomas William Quintin, 65, formerly of Denver, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims, and one count of misuse of a Social Security number (SSN), before U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson, the U.S. Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. Quintin is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Jackson on April 2, 2013.

Quintin and a co-conspirator were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on Feb. 8, 2012. According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, starting in July 2009, Quintin participated in a conspiracy to submit to the IRS thousands of false federal individual income tax returns claiming a total of $1,834,011 in refunds in the names of deceased individuals. As part of the scheme, the conspirators established, controlled, and operated a Colorado entity known as Total Tax Services (Tax returns for dead guys? That is the Total Tax Service.) and/or Total Tax and Accounting (TTS), which maintained an office location in Englewood, Colo. They hired other individuals (Hope they weren’t zombies.) to work at TTS, which they used during the period of July 2009 through October 2009 to prepare and file the false tax returns.

 

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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.