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IRS Criminal Investigation Combats Identity Theft Refund Fraud

IRS YouTube Videos
ID Theft: IRS Efforts on Identity Theft

FS-2014-3, January 2014

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has seen a significant increase in refund fraud that involves identity thieves who file false claims for refunds by stealing and using someone's Social Security number. The investigative work done by Criminal Investigation (CI) is a major component of the IRS’s efforts to combat tax-related identity theft. 

Statistical Data 

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, the IRS initiated approximately 1,492 identity theft related criminal investigations, an increase of 66 percent over investigations initiated in FY 2012. Direct investigative time applied to identity theft related investigations has increased 216 percent over the last two years. Prosecution recommendations, indictments, and those convicted and sentenced for identity theft violations have increased dramatically since FY 2011. Sentences handed down for convictions relating to identity theft have been significant, ranging from two months to 317 months.  
 

 

FY2013

FY 2012

  FY 2011

 Investigations Initiated

1492

898

276

 Prosecution Recommendations

1257

544

218

 Indictments/Informations

1050

494

165

 Sentenced

438

223

80


Enforcement Efforts 

Criminal Investigation is committed to investigating and prosecuting identity thieves who attempt to defraud the federal government by filing fraudulent refund claims using another person’s identifying information.

The IRS continues to seek out and identify additional tools and methods to combat the proliferation of tax-related identity theft.  FY 2013 efforts include: 

Identity Theft Enforcement Sweeps - In January 2013, Criminal Investigation conducted a coordinated identity theft enforcement sweep in collaboration with DOJ-Tax and United States Attorney’s Offices throughout the country.  This nationwide effort resulted in 734 enforcement actions related to identity theft and refund fraud and involved 389 individuals, 109 arrests, 48 search warrants, and 189 indictments, information and criminal complaints.

Law Enforcement Assistance Program - In March 2013, IRS announced to the public that the Law Enforcement Assistance Program, formerly known as the Identity Theft Pilot Disclosure Program, was expanded nationwide.  This program provides for the disclosure of federal tax return information associated with the accounts of known and suspected identity victims of identity theft with the express written consent of those victims.  There are currently more than 300 state/local law enforcement agencies from 35 states participating.  For FY 2013, more than 2,400 requests had been received from state and local law enforcement agencies.

Identify Theft Clearinghouse (ITC) - The Identity Theft Clearinghouse (ITC) continues to develop and refer identity theft refund fraud schemes to CI Field Offices for investigation.  For FY 2013 the ITC had received more than 1,400 identity theft related leads. 

Data Processing Center(DPC) Identity Theft Victims List Process - This process centralizes identity theft victims’ lists and information forwarded to IRS-CI by other federal, state and local agencies during nationwide investigative efforts.  The information is analyzed and necessary adjustments are made to accounts of taxpayers that are likely targets of ID theft.  The DPC processed over 71.7 percent more identity records in FY 2013 than it did in FY 2012.

Multi-Agency Task Forces and Working Groups - CI is the lead agency or actively involved in more than 30 multi-regional task forces or working groups including state/local and federal law enforcement agencies solely focusing on identity theft.      

The following are highlights from significant identity-theft cases. All details are based on court documents.

Self-Proclaimed “First Lady” of Tax Fraud Sentenced

On July 16, 2013, in Tampa, Fla., Rashia Wilson, was sentenced to 234 months in prison on wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges stemming from her scheme to defraud the IRS, and to a consecutive 18 months in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Wilson was also ordered to forfeit $2,240,096, which constituted the proceeds traceable to the offense.  According to court documents, from at least April 2009 through their arrests in September 2012, Wilson and her co-conspirator, Maurice J. Larry, engaged in a scheme to defraud the IRS by negotiating fraudulently obtained tax refunds. They did so by receiving U.S. Treasury checks and pre-paid debit cards that were loaded with proceeds derived from filing false and fraudulent federal income tax returns in other persons' names, without those persons’ permission or knowledge.  Wilson and Larry filed these false and fraudulent federal income tax returns from multiple locations, including Wilson's residence and hotels in the Tampa area.  Wilson, Larry, and others then used these fraudulently obtained tax refunds to make hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of retail purchases, to purchase money orders, and to withdraw cash. Larry was sentenced to 174 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $2,240,096.

Woman Sentenced for Running Stolen Identity Tax Fraud Scheme
On July 30, 2013, in St. Louis, Mo., Tania Henderson was sentenced to 144 months in prison and ordered to pay $835,883 in restitution to the IRS. Henderson pleaded guilty on April 29, 2013, to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. According to her plea agreement and other court documents, Henderson stole the identities of more than 400 individuals, many of whom were deceased, and filed fraudulent tax returns using their names and Social Security account numbers. Between August and November 2012, Henderson filed 236 fraudulent tax returns. Using a network of family and friends, she would collect refund checks or prepaid debit cards for the refund amounts and liquidate the proceeds of her scheme.  

Leaders of Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Ring Sentenced
On May 8, 2012, in Montgomery, Ala., Veronica Dale and Alchico Grant, who jointly ran a stolen identity refund fraud ring that attempted to defraud the United States of millions of dollars over several years, were sentenced to prison. Veronica Dale was sentenced to 334 months in prison and Alchico Grant was sentenced to 310 months in prison.  Dale and Grant were both ordered to pay more than $2.8 million in restitution to the IRS. In September 2011, Grant pleaded guilty to five charges from two separate indictments, including conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. In October 2011, Dale pleaded guilty to seven charges from two indictments, including conspiracy, filing false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  According to court documents, beginning in 2009 and continuing through 2010, the defendants were part of a scheme that involved fraudulently obtaining tax refunds by filing false tax returns using stolen identities. Dale admitted that she filed more than 500 fraudulent returns that sought at least $3,741,908 in tax refunds.  These returns were filed using the names of Medicaid beneficiaries, whose personal information Dale obtained while working for a company that serviced Medicaid programs.  Dale directed the refunds to different bank accounts that she and other co-conspirators controlled.

The latest information on Identity Theft enforcement efforts and individual cases are available on IRS.gov.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 07-Jan-2014

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Turbotax for military 7. Turbotax for military   How To Get Tax Help Table of Contents Outside the U. Turbotax for military S. Turbotax for military Low Income Taxpayer Clinics Whether it's help with a tax issue, preparing your tax return or a need for a free publication or form, get the help you need the way you want it: online, use a smart phone, call or walk in to an IRS office or volunteer site near you. Turbotax for military Free help with your tax return. Turbotax for military   You can get free help preparing your return nationwide from IRS-certified volunteers. Turbotax for military The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps low-to-moderate income, elderly, people with disabilities, and limited English proficient taxpayers. Turbotax for military The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program helps taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Turbotax for military Most VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing and all volunteers will let you know about credits and deductions you may be entitled to claim. Turbotax for military In addition, some VITA and TCE sites provide taxpayers the opportunity to prepare their own return with help from an IRS-certified volunteer. Turbotax for military To find the nearest VITA or TCE site, you can use the VITA Locator Tool on IRS. Turbotax for military gov, download the IRS2Go app, or call 1-800-906-9887. Turbotax for military   As part of the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program. Turbotax for military To find the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, visit AARP's website at www. Turbotax for military aarp. Turbotax for military org/money/taxaide or call 1-888-227-7669. Turbotax for military For more information on these programs, go to IRS. Turbotax for military gov and enter “VITA” in the search box. Turbotax for military Internet. Turbotax for military    IRS. Turbotax for military gov and IRS2Go are ready when you are —24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Turbotax for military Download the free IRS2Go app from the iTunes app store or from Google Play. Turbotax for military Use it to check your refund status, order transcripts of your tax returns or tax account, watch the IRS YouTube channel, get IRS news as soon as it's released to the public, subscribe to filing season updates or daily tax tips, and follow the IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews, to get the latest federal tax news, including information about tax law changes and important IRS programs. Turbotax for military Check the status of your 2013 refund with the Where's My Refund? application on IRS. Turbotax for military gov or download the IRS2Go app and select the Refund Status option. Turbotax for military The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Turbotax for military Using these applications, you can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after we receive your e-filed return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return. Turbotax for military You will also be given a personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. Turbotax for military The IRS updates Where's My Refund? every 24 hours, usually overnight, so you only need to check once a day. Turbotax for military Use the Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) to research your tax questions. Turbotax for military No need to wait on the phone or stand in line. Turbotax for military The ITA is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and provides you with a variety of tax information related to general filing topics, deductions, credits, and income. Turbotax for military When you reach the response screen, you can print the entire interview and the final response for your records. Turbotax for military New subject areas are added on a regular basis. Turbotax for military  Answers not provided through ITA may be found in Tax Trails, one of the Tax Topics on IRS. Turbotax for military gov which contain general individual and business tax information or by searching the IRS Tax Map, which includes an international subject index. Turbotax for military You can use the IRS Tax Map, to search publications and instructions by topic or keyword. Turbotax for military The IRS Tax Map integrates forms and publications into one research tool and provides single-point access to tax law information by subject. Turbotax for military When the user searches the IRS Tax Map, they will be provided with links to related content in existing IRS publications, forms and instructions, questions and answers, and Tax Topics. Turbotax for military Coming this filing season, you can immediately view and print for free all 5 types of individual federal tax transcripts (tax returns, tax account, record of account, wage and income statement, and certification of non-filing) using Get Transcript. Turbotax for military You can also ask the IRS to mail a return or an account transcript to you. Turbotax for military Only the mail option is available by choosing the Tax Records option on the IRS2Go app by selecting Mail Transcript on IRS. Turbotax for military gov or by calling 1-800-908-9946. Turbotax for military Tax return and tax account transcripts are generally available for the current year and the past three years. Turbotax for military Determine if you are eligible for the EITC and estimate the amount of the credit with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Assistant. Turbotax for military Visit Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter to get answers to questions about a notice or letter you received from the IRS. Turbotax for military If you received the First Time Homebuyer Credit, you can use the First Time Homebuyer Credit Account Look-up tool for information on your repayments and account balance. Turbotax for military Check the status of your amended return using Where's My Amended Return? Go to IRS. Turbotax for military gov and enter Where's My Amended Return? in the search box. Turbotax for military You can generally expect your amended return to be processed up to 12 weeks from the date we receive it. Turbotax for military It can take up to 3 weeks from the date you mailed it to show up in our system. Turbotax for military Make a payment using one of several safe and convenient electronic payment options available on IRS. Turbotax for military gov. Turbotax for military Select the Payment tab on the front page of IRS. Turbotax for military gov for more information. Turbotax for military Determine if you are eligible and apply for an online payment agreement, if you owe more tax than you can pay today. Turbotax for military Figure your income tax withholding with the IRS Withholding Calculator on IRS. Turbotax for military gov. Turbotax for military Use it if you've had too much or too little withheld, your personal situation has changed, you're starting a new job or you just want to see if you're having the right amount withheld. Turbotax for military Determine if you might be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax by using the Alternative Minimum Tax Assistant on IRS. Turbotax for military gov. Turbotax for military Request an Electronic Filing PIN by going to IRS. Turbotax for military gov and entering Electronic Filing PIN in the search box. Turbotax for military Download forms, instructions and publications, including accessible versions for people with disabilities. Turbotax for military Locate the nearest Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) using the Office Locator tool on IRS. Turbotax for military gov, or choose the Contact Us option on the IRS2Go app and search Local Offices. Turbotax for military An employee can answer questions about your tax account or help you set up a payment plan. Turbotax for military Before you visit, check the Office Locator on IRS. Turbotax for military gov, or Local Offices under Contact Us on IRS2Go to confirm the address, phone number, days and hours of operation, and the services provided. Turbotax for military If you have a special need, such as a disability, you can request an appointment. Turbotax for military Call the local number listed in the Office Locator, or look in the phone book under United States Government, Internal Revenue Service. Turbotax for military Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Turbotax for military Go to IRS. Turbotax for military gov and enter Apply for an EIN in the search box. Turbotax for military Read the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, or other official guidance. Turbotax for military Read Internal Revenue Bulletins. Turbotax for military Sign up to receive local and national tax news and more by email. Turbotax for military Just click on “subscriptions” above the search box on IRS. Turbotax for military gov and choose from a variety of options. Turbotax for military Phone. Turbotax for military    You can call the IRS, or you can carry it in your pocket with the IRS2Go app on your smart phone or tablet. Turbotax for military Download the free IRS2Go app from the iTunes app store or from Google Play. Turbotax for military Call to locate the nearest volunteer help site, 1-800-906-9887 or you can use the VITA Locator Tool on IRS. Turbotax for military gov, or download the IRS2Go app. Turbotax for military Low-to-moderate income, elderly, people with disabilities, and limited English proficient taxpayers can get free help with their tax return from the nationwide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Turbotax for military The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program helps taxpayers age 60 and older with their tax returns. Turbotax for military Most VITA and TCE sites offer free electronic filing. Turbotax for military Some VITA and TCE sites provide IRS-certified volunteers who can help prepare your tax return. Turbotax for military Through the TCE program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program; call 1-888-227-7669 to find the nearest Tax-Aide location. Turbotax for military Call the automated Where's My Refund? information hotline to check the status of your 2013 refund 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-829-1954. Turbotax for military If you e-file, you can start checking on the status of your return within 24 hours after the IRS receives your tax return or 4 weeks after you've mailed a paper return. Turbotax for military The IRS issues more than 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Turbotax for military Where's My Refund? will give you a personalized refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. Turbotax for military Before you call this automated hotline, have your 2013 tax return handy so you can enter your social security number, your filing status, and the exact whole dollar amount of your refund. Turbotax for military The IRS updates Where's My Refund? every 24 hours, usually overnight, so you only need to check once a day. Turbotax for military Note, the above information is for our automated hotline. Turbotax for military Our live phone and walk-in assistors can research the status of your refund only if it's been 21 days or more since you filed electronically or more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return. Turbotax for military Call the Amended Return Hotline, 1-866-464-2050, to check the status of your amended return. Turbotax for military You can generally expect your amended return to be processed up to 12 weeks from the date we receive it. Turbotax for military It can take up to 3 weeks from the date you mailed it to show up in our system. Turbotax for military Call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) to order current-year forms, instructions, publications, and prior-year forms and instructions (limited to 5 years). Turbotax for military You should receive your order within 10 business days. Turbotax for military Call TeleTax, 1-800-829-4477, to listen to pre-recorded messages covering general and business tax information. Turbotax for military If, between January and April 15, you still have questions about the Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ (like filing requirements, dependents, credits, Schedule D, pensions and IRAs or self-employment taxes), call 1-800-829-1040. Turbotax for military Call using TTY/TDD equipment, 1-800-829-4059 to ask tax questions or order forms and publications. Turbotax for military The TTY/TDD telephone number is for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. Turbotax for military These individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service. Turbotax for military    Outside the U. Turbotax for military S. Turbotax for military If you are outside the United States, taxpayer assistance is available by calling the following U. Turbotax for military S Embassies or consulates. Turbotax for military    Beijing, China (86) (10) 8531-3983 Frankfurt, Germany (49) (69) 7535-3823 London, England (44) (20) 7894-0477 Paris, France (33) (1) 4312-2555   If you cannot contact one of these offices, taxpayer assistance is also available at (267) 941-1000 (not a toll free call). Turbotax for military   If you are in a U. Turbotax for military S. Turbotax for military territory (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U. Turbotax for military S. Turbotax for military Virgin Islands) and have a tax question, you can call 1-800-829-1040. Turbotax for military Walk-in. Turbotax for military   You can find a selection of forms, publications and services — in-person. Turbotax for military Products. Turbotax for military You can walk in to some post offices, libraries, and IRS offices to pick up certain forms, instructions, and publications. Turbotax for military Some IRS offices, libraries, and city and county government offices have a collection of products available to photocopy from reproducible proofs. Turbotax for military Services. Turbotax for military You can walk in to your local TAC for face-to-face tax help. Turbotax for military An employee can answer questions about your tax account or help you set up a payment plan. Turbotax for military Before visiting, use the Office Locator tool on IRS. Turbotax for military gov, or choose the Contact Us option on the IRS2Go app and search Local Offices for days and hours of operation, and services provided. Turbotax for military    Outside the U. Turbotax for military S. Turbotax for military If you are outside the United States during the filing period (January to mid-June), you can get the necessary federal tax forms and publications from most U. Turbotax for military S. Turbotax for military Embassies and consulates. Turbotax for military   Walk-in taxpayer assistance is available at the following U. Turbotax for military S. Turbotax for military Embassies or consulates. Turbotax for military    Beijing, China (86) (10) 8531-3983 Frankfurt, Germany (49) (69) 7535-3811 London, England (44) (20) 7894-0477 Paris, France (33) (1) 4312-2555   Please contact the office for times when assistance will be available. Turbotax for military Mail. Turbotax for military   You can send your order for forms, instructions, and publications to the address below. Turbotax for military You should receive a response within 10 business days after your request is received. Turbotax for military Internal Revenue Service 1201 N. Turbotax for military Mitsubishi Motorway Bloomington, IL 61705-6613      Outside the U. Turbotax for military S. Turbotax for military If you are outside the United States, you can get tax assistance by writing to the address below. Turbotax for military  Internal Revenue Service International Accounts Philadelphia, PA 19255-0725 Taxpayer Advocate Service. Turbotax for military   The Taxpayer Advocate Service Is Here to Help You. Turbotax for military The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is your voice at the IRS. Turbotax for military Our job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights. Turbotax for military   What can TAS do for you? We can offer you free help with IRS problems that you can't resolve on your own. Turbotax for military We know this process can be confusing, but the worst thing you can do is nothing at all! TAS can help if you can't resolve your tax problem and: Your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family, or your business. Turbotax for military You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action. Turbotax for military You've tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS hasn't responded by the date promised. Turbotax for military   If you qualify for our help, you'll be assigned to one advocate who'll be with you at every turn and will do everything possible to resolve your problem. Turbotax for military Here's why we can help: TAS is an independent organization within the IRS. Turbotax for military Our advocates know how to work with the IRS. Turbotax for military Our services are free and tailored to meet your needs. Turbotax for military We have offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Turbotax for military   How can you reach us? If you think TAS can help you, call your local advocate, whose number is in your local directory and at Taxpayer Advocate, or call us toll-free at 1-877-777-4778. Turbotax for military  How else does TAS help taxpayers?  TAS also works to resolve large-scale, systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. Turbotax for military If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System. Turbotax for military Outside the U. Turbotax for military S. Turbotax for military   If you live outside of the United States, you can call the Taxpayer Advocate at (787) 522-8601 in English or (787) 522-8600 in Spanish. Turbotax for military You can contact the Taxpayer Advocate at: Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Advocate Service City View Plaza, 48 Carr 165, Guaynabo, P. Turbotax for military R. Turbotax for military 00968-8000 Low Income Taxpayer Clinics Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) serve individuals whose income is below a certain level and need to resolve tax problems such as audits, appeals and tax collection disputes. Turbotax for military Some clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Turbotax for military Visit Taxpayer Advocate or see IRS Publication 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List. Turbotax for military Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications