If you or someone you know is thinking about concocting a haphazard tax fraud, it may be tempting to go with a tried and true method that goes something like this:
Step 1: Reside in Florida
Step 2: Steal a bunch of taxpayer information
Step 3: eFile a bunch of tax returns with this stolen information
It should be noted that the authorities seem to be aware of this popular approach. The Associated Press reported back in July that Florida seems to be a hotbed of fraudulent activity: the Federal Trade Commission found that Florida ranks first in identity theft complaints and the Treasury Department says the number of bogus tax returns in South Florida is 46 times the national average.
Which brings us to Delvis Demaine Rogers of Hollywood, Florida and Keyiona Marvette Wright of Plantation (really?), Florida. Both of the filed tax returns claiming refunds for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Both of their scams fell apart most due to one small problem: location.
In the case of Rogers, an assistant band teacher, his residential address:
According to court documents, IRS-CI investigators noticed that 419 suspicious tax returns claiming refunds totaling $754,470 were filed from Rogers’ residential address from January 25, 2014 to April 20, 2014. Based on this information, a search warrant was executed at Rogers’ residence and agents discovered and seized papers, notes, and documents containing thousands of [personal identifying information] (including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers) including PII contained in records of more than a dozen Broward County School District students, some dating back to the late 1990s and others into the late 2000s. Agents also seized numerous printed 2013 tax returns.
And in Wright's, her Internet Protocol address:
According to court documents, from March 25, 2014 to May 6, 2015, forty-six federal tax returns were filed with the IRS claiming refunds of $135,196 from an IP address in Plantation. From September 16, 2014 to May 5, 2015, at least 688 rejected federal tax returns, claiming refunds of $733,276, were electronically transmitted to the IRS from this same IP address. Agents confirmed that the IP address was assigned to an apartment rented by Wright.
Agents also found a laptop in Wright's apartment that "contained a video depicting the defendant counting money" which never looks good.
So if your fraud mirrors these, be sure to revisit your plans. Maybe try Ireland. Or Luxembourg! I hear they're both lovely.
[via Russ Fox via Joe Kristan]