Neighborhood Fraudster


How well do you know your neighbors? While many of us may socialize with the folks who live on our street on a regular basis, that doesn’t mean we know who they really are. An Ohio man, who considered himself to be the neighborhood tax preparer, turned out to be quite accomplished at filing false tax returns.

The neighborhood tax man paid recruiters a referral fee for providing personally identifiable information about others. (I wonder if he paid his neighbors to help him carry out his scheme. Who knows, maybe neighbors were spying on other neighbors and collecting personal information, all without knowing they were all working for the same guy.) The tax fraudster then used the illegally-gained personal information to file bogus tax returns, which included tax credits for businesses that did not exist.

Over three tax seasons, the man falsely claimed more than $100,000 in tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service. He deposited the refunds into numerous personal and business bank accounts. (He obviously controlled the financial accounts that were set up in the names of his victims.)

The 45-year-old tax preparer was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, filing false tax claims, aiding in the preparation of false tax returns, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. He received a sentence of 70 months in prison and will pay $100,230 in restitution. (What about all those folks who had their identity stolen? Do they get anything to make up for the headaches they have had to incur while trying to repair their damaged credit?)

So, what’s the moral of the story? Perhaps it ‘s good to be wary of neighbors you don’t know well and ask more questions of those you do know. Don’t immediately trust someone who suspiciously volunteers to bring in your mail or feed your pet while you’re on vacation. (You’re handing them the keys to your kingdom.) What this man did was not a very neighborly thing to do. (And he ‘s about to move into a new neighborhood that’s not likely to be very friendly to him either. What goes around comes around.)

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on a Department of Justice press release entitled, “Cleveland Heights man sentenced to nearly six years in prison for identity theft and tax fraud,” posted by on June 22, 2017.

A Cleveland Heights man was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for identity theft and tax violations, said U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon and Troy N. Stemen, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.

Darryl E. Farmer, 45, was found guilty last year of one count of conspiracy to defraud, nine counts of false tax claims, eight counts of aiding in the preparation of false tax returns, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

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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.