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In less time than it takes to get a college degree, the self-taught swindlers of today’s ”Fraud of the Day” learned to commit a massive tax refund fraud conspiracy involving false education credits. AL.com tells the story of a father and daughter team who used their tax preparation business to steal nearly half a million dollars from the Internal Revenue Service.

According to the story, the father owned a tax preparation service in Birmingham, Alabama. He was grooming his daughter, who was also trained to prepare taxes, to one day take over the business. (Apparently this meant training her to defraud taxpayers.)

The story states that over a two-year period of time, the duo filed hundreds of false tax returns with American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits, designed to help taxpayers claim tax credits for tuition and education-related expenses paid during the tax year, on behalf of their clients without their knowledge. They also oversaw the preparation of fraudulent returns by other preparers. (Taxpayers beware: paid preparers are required to sign a return, but that fine print above your signature means that you have examined the form and all accompanying schedules.)

Both father and daughter pleaded guilty to tax refund fraud. As part of their plea agreements, the father was sentenced to two years in prison, while the daughter will serve a three-year probationary sentence, including six months under house arrest. Additionally, they were ordered to repay $490,328 in restitution to the IRS. (Let’s hope this experience educates these two tax preparers that there’s a zero-tolerance policy for tax refund fraud.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Birmingham father and daughter sentenced in $490k tax fraud,” written by Kent Fault and published by AL.com on November 19, 2015.

A father and daughter tax preparers were sentenced today for conspiring to defraud the government of $490,328 by falsely claiming education credits on their clients’ returns, federal authorities said.

Demetrius Young, 52, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre to two years in prison. Deondra Young, 30, was sentenced by Bowdre to three years’ probation, including six months home detention, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillott.

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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.