An Insider’s Opinion

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Whenever you are looking to enter a venture you do not have experience in, it’s a great idea to get an ”insider’s opinion.’? Let’s say you want to build a pool. Sure, you’ve been to many pools, but that doesn’t qualify you as a pool construction specialist. The best thing to do is contact a pool contractor – this individual has the skill set and resources to help you take on this new venture. According to a Star Tribune article, those on the inside of prisons are catching on to a similar idea of using an insider.

(SAT Question: The defendant referenced below was sentenced to 91 months and was incarcerated in January of 2009 for molesting a 13-year-old relative. What is his estimated release date? Answer below.) A Minnesota prison is the focus of a massive six-year tax refund scam, illegally benefitting an estimated 100+ inmates from 2006 to 2012. While many ”tax cheaters” risk going to prison when they are caught, there is one inmate who now risks staying in prison for his elaborate insider business. (Do you think he’s shaking in shackles yet?) Court documents explained what is thought to be a ”large-scale tax refund scheme,” identifying a specific process that allowed its success. But, who allegedly is the brains behind the scandal? None other than a stand up character – a 28-year old Minnesota resident serving time for first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a family member under the age of 13. (Great, possibly a tax-cheating pedophile.)

The inmate and an alleged outside accomplice are under investigation after the discovery of over 100 bogus tax forms. Statements have been made against the prisoner, alleging that he approached fellow inmates and told them he could make them some money by filing their tax forms. But, wait? There’s more. Allegedly, he said all he needed was their Social Security number and a complete power of attorney form to allow his outside accomplice to cash the checks on their behalf. (Classic scam. ”Let me control your identity, completely. What does it matter? You are in prison.) Corrections officials intercepted various letters between the defendant and other inmates, discussing his process for filing taxes and the process for payment. Once letter noted the defendant was? ”repping over 100 inmates.” (If true, he could have opened his own tax business.) Officials discovered connections between letters and a postal mail drop rented and accessed by the alleged outside accomplice, as well as a variety of suspicious evidence at her home.

To provide an answer to the SAT question? July 2016 would be the correct answer. I wonder what his new release date will be if he is convicted of tax refund fraud.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Tax Scam Allegedly Run from Minnesota Prisons,” written by Dan Browning and published by the Star Tribune on March 25, 2013.

Some tax cheats risk going to prison. The IRS says it’s investigating a ring of tax cheats who risk staying there. According to court documents, a group of Minnesota inmates has been running a ”large-scale tax refund scheme” from behind prison walls.


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Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.