Everyday Tax Fraud—What Does That Look Like?

tax fraudA couple files a false tax return and then tries to cover up the refund they received as a result.  What could possibly go wrong?


We talk frequently about common tax schemes like tax preparer fraud, offshore tax evasion, and other tax crime. Our legal group works with individuals working through a tax controversy, tax audit—or a criminal tax matter. Early representation by an experienced criminal tax attorney is critical to try and mitigate circumstances or a criminal tax charge. 


Recently, a Hawaiian couple pled guilty to defrauding the U.S. The facts of the matter are straightforward. Michael and Brigida Chock prepared and submitted a falsified amended 2014 tax return along with an also-fake Form 1099 for miscellaneous income. The return claimed that a refund was owed, based on the fraudulent 1099. Filed in 2016, the couple claimed and were paid a refund of $225,327.


To throw the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) off their trail, the couple moved the money into a trust account opened to conceal the money. They also dropped a cool $73,500 on another individual to help them obtain the refund and then later hide it. While it is never a good idea to obstruct the IRS, the couple took their fabrications a little further. In what clearly reveals the lack of involvement of effective defense counsel, the couple claimed that the IRS had created the fake tax return.


This type of fraud occurs frequently, as does pursuit by the IRS. Though the stories are similar, the details of the criminal tax matters differ—but in all of these matters, a choice is made while consequences are not often considered.


The story of the Chock couple ended quietly. They were indicted and pled guilty to the charges against them. Sentencing is upcoming and each face a maximum of five years in prison plus restitution, penalties, and a period of supervised release.


Not the most creative or audacious tax crime, Mr. and Mrs. Chock likely saw a get-rich-quick scheme without thinking about how easily it might have been for the IRS to track them down—especially when they claimed the IRS had initiated the fraudulent returns.


There is no moral to this story—there are only choices. If you are involved in tax evasion or other criminal tax matters, consider speaking with a good tax defense attorney sooner rather than later.


Chicago tax lawyers provide strong representation when you face a civil audit or tax controversy

The tax group at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC provides aggressive defense with tax controversy, offshore tax allegations, or criminal tax audits. When experienced tax advice is needed locally or internationally, call 800-579-0997 or contact us for a free consultation.


Understanding Tax Fraud