It was an interesting scheme but will ultimately cost a New Jersey man six years of his life behind bars.
Tax crime is by no means uncommon. In this space, we frequently look at schemes employed or mistakes made in order to strategically discuss the way out. In all cases, the way out is “the sooner the better.”
In the matter of Atlantic City resident Kenneth Crawford Jr., his tactics were unusual in that after discovery by the IRS, Mr. Crawford stayed in the game, filing fraudulent tax documents and fake income tax returns to cover his tracks.
Here is how it went:
- Crawford and several associates marketed “mortgage recovery” services, primarily to taxpayers under water on their mortgages or facing foreclosure. This is the type of thing that leads to a criminal tax audit of the professional service provider and the individuals filing the returns.
- The individuals who responded to the promotion were provided fake tax forms that demonstrated excessive taxes had been previously withheld from them. In due time, the IRS sent tax refunds to the filers to which they were not entitled. Of more than $2.3 million in claims submitted to the IRS, the IRS paid more than $1.3 million to the filers. For his efforts, Mr. Crawford drew a 25 percent fee of each refund paid by the IRS.
- In the time between 2015 and 2016, the IRS likely undertook a criminal tax investigation and identified the fraud. At that time, the IRS reconnected with the filers to recover the refund monies paid out. Instead of realizing the jig was up, Mr. Crawford then offered additional fake documents to his clients to provide to the IRS. Mr. Crawford also instructed these probably bewildered individuals to hide his role in their activities and to transfer and hide monies received from the IRS.
As we already know, this did not turn out well for Mr. Crawford. He was convicted in December 2019 and detained due to the conviction and for violating terms of his pretrial release. Fast forward to November 2020 and Mr. Crawford was sentenced to 78 months in prison on criminal tax charges involving fraud, obstruction of IRS law, and filing false claims. Mr. Crawford also pulled probation of another three years and about $1,400,000 in restitution.
Here is where “the sooner the better” comes in. If you are involved in a criminal tax matter, skilled representation by an experienced criminal defense tax attorney helps—preferably sooner.
Skilled legal representation with tax litigation or IRS criminal tax audits
Located in Cleveland and Chicago, the tax lawyers at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC help you answer questions about your business tax return, or concerns you might have about offshore tax investments or reporting. When you need experienced tax advice, call 800-579-0997 or contact us.