Andre Martin, a special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation Washington Field Office which covers the virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. area, has published, in The Tidewater News, some wise words of caution to all regarding tax scams and schemes that we should beware of. Martin offers this advice in hopes that he can shield invididuals from the “emotional pain and financial devastation inflicted upon victims of tax and other financial crimes.”
First, Martin reminds us that these types of schemes can cost an individual their life savings. Furthermore, Martin wants people to understand that if you knowingly participate in a tax scheme you could be prosecuted and potentially imprisoned for your actions.
Martin warns us of the following more prominent tax scams or investment schemes:
1) Tax Scams: Some fraudsters will try and convince you that you are not legally required to file an income tax return or pay federal income taxes. This is not true. Federall income tax laws have consistently been upheld in court and do require filing and payment of income taxes. Every year, 1000 inviduals are prosecuted for evading payment of income taxes, willfully failing to file tax returns, falsifyling tax returns to gain inflated tax refunds and other similar tax crimes.
2) Invesment Fraud: Investment fraud can financially destroy an individual. If someone promises extraordinary rates of return, make sure to check on these promises by having a legal, tax or investment professional review the investment. Martin reminds us that things that are too good to be true often are. Avoid handing over your savings to fraudsters who will definately enjoy YOUR money.
3) Money laundering schemes; Money laundering is “the conversion of illegal or ‘dirty’ money funds or assets that appear to have come from legitimate sources.” So-called dirty money must be cleaned in order for the criminal to use it. To accomplish the laundering the criminal may run the dirty money through a legitimate business. Dirty money may be as a result of drug sales, fraud, embezzlement, or other illegal sources. Do not agree to launder money for anyone regardless of the promises of the wrongdoer?
4) Mortgage fraud: This typically involves false representations made to a lender to obtain a mortgage that the lender would not approve normally. Mortgage fraud can be performed by sellers, appraisers, agents, loan officers, and/or buyers. Marin reminds us to not jeopardize your good name by becoming involved in such a scheme. You can ruin your credit and possibly be prosecuted and imprisoned for such actions.
Finally, Martin asks us to be diligent in “protecting the integrity of our personal financial affairs.”
Do you believe that you have fallen victim to any of the above schemes? Our firm will provide you with a free consultation to discuss potential claims you may have. For additional information on investment schemes or our firm, please visit www.dossfirm.com.
Jason Doss is the owner of The Doss Firm, LLC, an Atlanta-based law firm devoted to representing consumers across the country in a variety of areas including investment disputes and consumer class action litigation. Mr. Doss earned his J.D. from Florida State University in 2002 and his B.A. from the University of Florida in 1997.