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Rights Guaranteed By Law

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

In October 2023, after Charles Littlejohn pled guilty to income tax return fraud, the Internal Revenue Service stated that justice was found for the “thousands” of victims whose income tax returns were stolen and made public. But on May 28th, 2024, the IRS stated that may have been a little off on the number of victims. While notable celebrities said to be impacted by Littlejohn’s crimes included LeBrown James, Taylor Swift, Michael Jordan, and Oprah Winfrey, it’s now been revealed that Littlejohn stole the individual and business tax files of somewhere between 50,000 to 70,000 people. Process that folks. The government was off on the numbers. Let’s just go with 70,00 because it turns out that this little fraud case may be the largest theft of private taxpayer information in U.S. history.

All this comes from one of those victims. Ira Stoll, who graciously decided to share his findings. Stoll was notified by the U.S. Treasury Department that his information was stolen and given to the progressive organization Pro Publica. What does the government do for victims like Stoll? They give him “the right to confer with government lawyers.“ Big of them. And it turns out that not all the victims are even going to get to “confer”. Because what Stoll learned is that the “Justice Department’s sentencing memorandum in the case cites ‘thousands’ of victims, so many that it ‘makes it impracticable’ to provide everyone the rights guaranteed by law.” Does it say that in the Constitution?

Stoll also learned that the worst is yet to come. “It appears that the harm may continue indefinitely, noting that the news organization (Pro Forma) ‘has continued to publish stories’ based on the leak. That means that “victims who believe their information has only been disclosed to a news organization, but not yet to the public, have no assurance that their personal information will not be the subject of a news article tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year.”

Shout out to Ira Stoll for sharing everything to the public. Particularly for those other victims who aren’t going to benefit from “the rights guaranteed by law.”

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “I’m a Crime Victim—ProPublica Has My Tax Returns” published by The Wall Street Journal on May 27, 2024.

The U.S. Treasury Department recently alerted me that my company’s tax return was among those leaked by an Internal Revenue Service contractor. The department’s letter included documents from a federal criminal case explaining that Charles Edward Littlejohn “stole tax returns and return information” and disclosed them to news organizations.

“If you have any questions about your rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, please email the Department of Justice,” the letter said.

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