Zapping Fraud

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A sales zapper is a software tool that is used by fraudsters who want to falsify the electronic records for a point of sales system for the purpose of committing tax evasion. A Milan, Illinois business owner relied on one to help her steal more than $330,000 in state tax revenue from the Illinois Department of Revenue in a business tax fraud scheme that went on for approximately two years.

The business owner operated a company that provided licensing and tax filing services for cars, boats and other equipment. She allegedly forged tax documents for the state of Illinois, enabling her to steal more than $330,000 in state tax revenue. (Consumers who used her services thought they were paying the Illinois Department of Revenue.)

 Over two years, the business owner prepared fraudulent sales tax returns that included false deductions and exceptions that were not applicable. (Then, she billed her customers for the full tax bill and kept the difference.)

 The Milan business owner received a four-year prison sentence for pleading guilty to theft of more than $100,000. The 63-year-old also pleaded guilty to tax fraud and was sentenced to two years behind bars for failing to remit Illinois use tax. (These sentences will run concurrently.)

 Apparently, because the woman pleaded guilty to business tax fraud, prosecutors dismissed other charges related to theft, mail fraud, forgery and possessing a sales zapper. They also dismissed an additional retail theft charge in a related case. (Wow, this lady was busy stealing everyone’s money.) Let’s hope that the requirement to pay $315,936.62 effectively zap’s this fraudster’s desire to commit tax fraud in the future.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, Milan business woman sentenced to four years in tax fraud case, published by Quad-City Times on September 6, 2019.

A Milan business owner charged in 2017 with stealing more than $330,000 in sales tax revenue by forging tax documents to steal from customers has pleaded guilty to charges in Rock Island County Circuit Court.

Court records show Vickie J. Brown, 63, pleaded guilty Aug. 27 to theft of over $100,000, a Class 1 felony, and was sentenced to four years in prison.

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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.