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When someone is confused about their taxes or otherwise needs help with filing, they might seek assistance from family members. This type of support is permissible. (As long as no information on the tax filing is fraudulent, of course.)The Huntington News tells the story of a man who filed taxes on behalf of his family members and friends without their consent, collecting thousands of dollars in fraudulent tax returns.

Remarkably, the story explains that none of the 11 relatives, neighbors and friends defrauded by this man authorized him to file their returns. (Maybe he was just trying to be helpful.) Nonetheless, the story states that the zealous tax return filer collected $67,968 in fraudulent returns from the nearly $120,000 in claims he submitted to the Internal Revenue Service. (Thankfully, he did not receive all of the money requested.)

Thanks to the IRS’ Stolen identity Refund Fraud initiative, this criminal’s fraud was discovered. (This case proves how important it is for individuals to monitor their identities. It also shows how many instances of fraud entities can be discovered with proactive records management and identity verification.)

The fraudster pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return in the name of a family member without authorization. Only at his plea hearing did he admit to filing false returns on behalf of the other individuals. He was sentenced to 19 months in a federal prison by the judge overseeing his case. He will also have to pay $67,968 in restitution to the IRS, repaying taxpayers for the full amount that he illegally claimed. (Suffice to say he won’t be too popular at future family gatherings nor parties with friends.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”West Virginia man sentenced in Federal court for filing fraudulent tax returns” written Staff and published by HuntingtonNews.net on October 14, 2015.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A West Virginia man who filed numerous false federal tax returns was sentenced to 19 months in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Booth Goodwin.

Michael Jarrell, 40, of Hurricane, West Virginia, previously pleaded guilty on July 8, 2015, to one count of filing a false tax return in the name of a family member without authorization. At the plea hearing, Jarrell also admitted that he had filed false tax returns from 2007 through 2011 in the names of 11 other relatives, neighbors and friends without their authorization.

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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.