IRS: CI Top Tax Fraud Cases of 2022—#5: National Tax Fraud

IRS: CIThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reserves its Top Ten Tax Fraud list for notable schemes prosecuted in the past year. Number five is on the list likely for its national scale and sheer audacity.


Individuals and criminal crews look at mortgage tax fraud to boost or create a tax refund. The crew led by Iran Backstrom of Georgia included several co-conspirators in Florida and around the country. The scammers recruited clients through marketing seminars. Clients were advised their debt and mortgage liability entitled them to large refunds because banks and credit companies had routinely withheld income from them. These claims had no basis in fact and fraudulent tax documents were prepared and submitted with the fake tax returns to legitimatize the refunds—and it worked.


Between 2014 and 2016, Mr. Backstrom (also known as Shariyf Noble), along with his crew, prepared false income tax returns for clients and obtained fraudulent income tax returns from the IRS to the tune of $64 million dollars overall. For preparing the returns, Mr. Backstrom and the others routinely received $10,000 to $15,000 in fees and indicated the return had been prepared by the taxpayer without other assistance.


As a result of the years-long IRS criminal tax investigation, co-conspirators throughout the country were prosecuted and received prison sentences for their part in the scheme. Mr. Backstrom earned approximately $1 million as the ring leader and failed to file tax returns between 2014 and 2016. As a result, he was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. His second-hand man, Arthur Daniels (also known as Mehef Bey), was sentenced to 11 years in prison. A Florida woman, Rebecca Cyphers, was sentenced to a year in prison for preparing false income tax returns, and other crew members are also serving prison time. The final defendant to be sentenced, Yomarie Febres, will serve a four-year prison term for preparing false returns and failing to file income tax returns.


Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart Goldbert said, “Today’s sentence represents the culmination of years of work by the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and IRS-Criminal Investigation. The main promoters of this multimillion-dollar tax fraud conspiracy now have been identified, convicted, and sentenced to a substantial prison term. The message to other would-be tax cheats is clear:  no matter how sophisticated or complicated your scheme, we will uncover it, obtain your conviction, and seek sentences that hold you fully responsible for your criminal conduct.”


Committing a tax crime can be costly to your life and liberty. If you are involved in personal tax fraud—or a tax scheme on a larger scale—speak with an attorney experienced with criminal tax defense as soon as possible.


Experienced legal representation when you face criminal tax allegations or tax controversy

The tax group at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC represents individual and corporate clients in matters including offshore tax investigations, foreign bank accounts, and compliance issues. When experienced tax advice is needed, call 800-579-0997 or contact us for a free consultation. We have offices in Chicago and Cleveland.


Understanding Tax Fraud