Recently, a woman from Memphis, Tennessee was sentenced to nearly 22 years for a fraudulent scheme she was accused of carrying out for over two years. The investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation. The woman was charged with federal crimes after she was caught allegedly giving stolen information to others in order to file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.
The woman was alleged to have obtained the stolen identification information and a stolen warrant book from the Memphis Police Department. The book listed individuals with outstanding arrest warrants. Those who filed the false tax returns would claim the refunds without the actual taxpayers' knowledge. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Tennessee, they would obtain the money either by receiving refund checks from the IRS or by obtaining Refund Anticipation Loan checks from a bank.
Now the woman will serve 262 months in prison. She has also been ordered to pay restitution of $690,399 to the IRS. Once she is released from prison, she will then be subject to three years of supervised release.
These types of federal crimes are generally referred to as "white collar crimes." While the term can include a wide variety of criminal offenses, they all generally involve crime committed through deceit and are motivated by monetary gain. The most common types of white collar crime include fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering.
Just because a person is charged with a non-violent white collar crime does not mean the consequences will not be severe. As the story above illustrates, being charged and convicted of federal crimes can have serious long-term consequences. It is important for any person charged with a federal white collar crime to understand the potential criminal liability involved, as well as any defenses that may be available.
Source: Memphis Business Journal, "Memphian gets 22 years in prison for defrauding IRS, taxpayers," Dec. 24, 2012