Bragging Rights

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Bragging is acceptable when there is a good reason to boast about something. For example, let’s say your favorite sports team won the national championship, and you tease your neighbor who cheered for the runner-up. Maybe your child makes the honor roll at school, so you put that coveted bumper sticker on your car. It’s even acceptable to boast when you’ve won the chili cook-off at your county fair for the fourth time in a row because it was declared delicious by official judges. However, it’s not a good idea to brag to an undercover federal agent about your popularity as a tax preparer who gets large refunds for clients.

The Annandale Patch reports that a man, who operated two tax preparation businesses, prepared and filed thousands of fraudulent federal income tax returns for tax years including 2007-2010. On behalf of his clients, the accountant included false itemized deductions and education credits, which resulted in large tax refunds. The fee for the scam was between $100 and $250 per return. (Multiply that by thousands of returns and that’s not a bad side income.) The deception came to an end after the swindler prepared a tax return with falsified expenses and deductions for an undercover federal agent posing as a taxpayer.

The government revoked the accountant’s ability to file tax returns using an electronic filing identification number in 2013. But, that didn’t stop him from filing other fraudulent tax returns under his wife’s electronic filing number. He also lied about it when questioned by federal agents. (Now that’s cocky.) And, if you think that wasn’t enough, the man also claimed false and fraudulent expenses and credits on two of his own federal income tax returns.

So how much time does he get for the crime? He’ll find out at sentencing, but he faces a maximum sentence of three years in the slammer on each of 19 counts for aiding the preparation of a false income tax return, and two counts of filing his own false income tax return. He’s also looking at a five-year penalty for making false statements to federal agents. (That’s up to 68 years total.? Hooray for the prosecution team that went after this guy for his total disregard for the American taxpayer. Now, that’s a win worth bragging about.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Annandale Accountant Convicted of Tax Fraud,” published in the Annandale Patch on July 22, 2013.

ANNANDALE – An Annandale man was convicted on July 12 of tax fraud and making false statements to federal agents.

Mohammad T. Al-Suqi, 54, was convicted of nineteen counts of aiding the preparation of a false income tax return, two counts of filing his own false income tax returns, and one count of making false statements to federal agents, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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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.