Fraudsters Unite: It’s Saturday Night!


Fairly or unfairly, used car dealers have a bad enough reputation. Well…the facts alleged in today’s Fraud of the Day from the Tampa Bay Times, doesn’t help the reputation of the industry much and also highlights how another alleged fraudster may have ruined her reputation ”partying” too much.

The article reports that one Tampa used car dealer is accused of accepting fraudulent tax refund checks ”with a much higher value than the price of the vehicles he sold, keeping the difference for himself” as payment for cars. The man was indicted on a variety of fraud-related plots that allegedly netted $1.17 million. Not bad for a used car dealer. A search of the man’s house turned up 134 TurboTax cards, two Jaguars, a Bentley, and $38,000 in cash and money orders. (Nothing to see here.)

In an unrelated case, a woman pleaded guilty to charges in a case in which she was accused of filing 65 fraudulent tax returns, totaling $467,000. Apparently she held what she called ”drop parties” where she and others filed fraudulent tax returns (Now that’s a Saturday night!). Authorities also found $27,000 in her closet when they searched her home.

Last year, local and federal law enforcement came together to create Operation Rainmaker, in which over 10,000 fraudulent returns worth $100 million have been intercepted. While there are still so many cases of undiscovered fraud, it’s good to know that there are individuals out there making an effort to stop it. Many thanks to everyone who is working hard to uncover these fraudsters and put government money back where it belongs.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” was based on the article ”Indictment and Plea in Two Tampa Tax Fraud Cases” written by William Levesque and published by the Tampa Bay Times on May 30, 2012.

TAMPA — A used car dealer accused of accepting fraudulent tax refund checks as payment by customers and filing his own false tax returns has been indicted on a variety of fraud charges in a scheme that netted $1.17 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Russell B. Simmons Jr., 42, who operated Simmons Auto Sales, 4615 N 34th St., Tampa, was indicted on charges of tax fraud, identity theft, wire fraud, theft of government property and filing false 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.