Identity Theft Defense
Identity theft is a crime under both federal and state statutes. Identity fraud schemes may also involve violations of other statutes, such as those involving the tax code, frauds, and other crimes of deceit. These violations can be charged as felonies that carry substantial penalties, in some cases up to 30 years imprisonment, fines and criminal forfeiture.
Our criminal tax defense practice sees the Identity theft and related crimes being charged as part of criminal and civil tax investigations because the IRS criminal investigation divisions have a long history of leading such investigations. Further, the way the statutes are written it is often an easier crime to prove, rather than tax evasion; making it an ideal charging crime for the prosecutor(s).
If you are under investigation or have been charged with an Identity Theft Crime, contact a federal criminal tax attorney immediately.
ID Theft Crimes & Punishment
Aggravated Identity Theft, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1)
Conspiracy to defraud the government, 18 U.S. Code § 286
Conspiracy to commit international money laundering, 18 U.S. Code § 1956
False Claim for tax refund, 18 U.S. Code § 287
False Statement 18 U.S. Code § 1005
Theft of government property, 18 U.S.C. § 641
Wire fraud, 18 U.S. Code § 1343
Investigation and Enforcement:
NEWS: May 5, 2015 - Internal Revenue Service has set up a new criminal investigation team to tackle identity theft cases reported to it by taxpayers as well as other agencies.
Federal investigative agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Secret service, and the United States Postal Inspection Services investigate identity theft and fraud cases.
Our Identity Theft Defense - Recent Case Examples:
MRT, an audiologist. Retained our firm and under investigation for aggravated identity theft, tax evasion, filing a false tax return, and embezzlement. While performing bookkeeping services for his employer, he issued business checks payable to himself, and forged the signature of an authorized signer on the checks (ID theft). The prosecutors dropped the aggravated identity theft charges (would have been 2 additional consecutive years per charge) and taxpayer pled to one count of tax evasion.
LL. We were able to negotiate a Queen for a Day Agreement with prosecutors and she testified as to her role in an OID scheme. Result - No ID theft charges, No tax evasion charges, and a civil agreement reached with the IRS as to her liabilities - resulting in her paying 60% of the tax and penalty due.
- Jonathan Webster, age 34 - wire fraud, aggravated identity theft; sentenced to 9 years in prison, $1,458,000 restitution. See Setting up fake charities, filing fake returns and buying a bar. Using stolen identities, setting up fake charities and setting up a bar, Jonathan Webster filed more than 500 fraudulent income tax returns with the IRS for the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 income tax years. He worked on this tax scam from January 2010 until February 2013 and claimed $1,635,164 in refunds.
- Tanya Fox, age 34 - aggravated identity theft, wire fraud. Sentenced to 20 years in prison. This mother of nine, was the mastermind behind a tax fraud scheme that resulted in over $4 million in losses to the federal government. Fox gained notoriety for the purchases she made with the stolen money: Five luxury cars, a restaurant and two cosmetic surgeries.
- Santana-Pierna brothers - Numerous counts of many of the following charges appeared in the full indictment: False statement to federally insured financial institution - 18 U.S. Code § 1005, False claim for tax refund - 18 U.S. Code § 287, Aggravated identity theft - 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1) , Conspiracy to commit international money laundering - 18 U.S. Code § 1956, Conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims - 18 U.S. Code § 286, False claim of U.S. citizenship, passport fraud, passing forged Treasury checks, possession of stolen mail, Drug charges (conspiracy, intent to possess, intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine). They stole Puerto Rican identities and filed false tax returns in order to obtain fraudulent refunds. They were also engaged in a cocaine smuggling scheme. Sentenced to 11 years and 6 years respectively.