At Risk

39056408 - sa100 tax return form with calculator and pencil lying on wooden table

According to a recent report from the General Accounting Office (GAO), identity theft cost the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) more than $5 billion during the 2013 tax year. Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” story, reported in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, details how a brother and sister team used identity theft to file more than $2 million in fraudulent tax returns.

The article states that the siblings operated a tax preparer business that filed hundreds of fraudulent tax returns for the sole purpose of collecting their victims’ tax refund checks. They targeted prisoners and dead people as their victims for obvious reasons. (These two demographics are at risk because they don’t usually file their own tax returns due to serving time in prison or death.) This type of crime generates easy money for criminals because they can file a fraudulent tax return before incarcerated individuals or the family of the deceased can do it. (He who beats the taxpayer to the punch gets the refund.)

The 31-year-old brother and 33-year-old sister pleaded guilty for their roles in the identity theft and tax fraud scheme. They are currently awaiting sentencing.

In contrast to the dismal figures regarding the cost of identity theft, it is also important to consider that the IRS estimates that it prevented more than $24 billion in fraudulent refunds during the same time period. We applaud the efforts of the IRS Criminal Investigation team who tracked these criminals down and prosecuted them for their crimes against taxpayers. This case proves that the Department of Treasury doesn’t put up with greed, deceit or theft and will aggressively pursue those who seek to harm our nation’s tax system and their taxpaying victims.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Georgia Siblings Plead Guilty in Multi-million Dollar Stolen Identity, Tax Fraud Scheme,” written by Phil W. Hudson and published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on October 13, 2014.

Gregory Allen and Leisha Allen, brother and sister from Jesup, Ga, pled guilty for their roles in a stolen identity and tax fraud scheme operating in Wayne County, Ga.

According to the Department of Justice, the Allen siblings were operators of a fraudulent tax preparer business, B & C Superior Tax Services.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.