Broward County Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Using Stolen IDs to File Fraudulent Tax Returns

A Broward County tax return preparer pleaded guilty recently to conspiring to file and filing fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to documents filed with the court, the 41-year-old man owned two tax preparation businesses in Lauderhill with two other men.

From approximately 2010 through 2016, the three men apparently filed fraudulent returns for their clients seeking refunds to which the clients were not entitled, by reporting fictitious business income, fraudulent education and fuel tax credits and claiming deceased individuals as dependents. They also filed returns in the names of individuals whose identities had been stolen. The man apparently admitted to causing a tax loss of more than $550,000.

The man is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 6. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy count and a maximum sentence of three years in prison on the false return count. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.

The other two men involved are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 22.

The Tax fraud involved in the above discussed scheme involve some sort of data breach to gain access to employee’s W-2’s. There are several simple things you can do to avoid being victimized and protect your employees’ data, including::

  • Control access to payroll data and other sensitive information. Make sure that only people who really need sensitive data information have access to it. Limiting who can see this information, can eliminate any breaches.
  • Consider requiring a second step to authenticate requests for sensitive data before it can be released. A lot of these breaches happen when employees divulge other employees’ W-2 information to criminals. Should someone request W-2 information, it is beneficial to implement protocol that that employee speak to the person requesting the information before releasing it.
  • Make employees aware of various scams circulating regarding data security. Arm your employees with any “red flag” information so that they know when something seems odd. Always encourage them to ask questions or get help if something does not seem right.

Accidents can and will happen, even to the most prepared offices. If your company suffers a breach or potential breach, our Florida Class Action Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help. Call us today at 561-367-8777 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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