During our no-cost consultations, J David Tax Law in Orlando, FL receives the same question every week: Do the IRS and State tax agencies actually pursue criminal charges, and do they pursue jail time for tax crimes? The answer is definitely, YES. For good news, in 2021 alone, it is our estimation that our experienced criminal tax attorneys were able to keep 81 clients from serving jail time for tax fraud, tax evasion, and failure to pay sales tax.
The IRS prosecuted thousands of criminal tax cases with a 91% conviction rate in 2021. By investigating potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes, the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) division serves the American public in a way that fosters confidence in the tax system and encourages compliance with the laws.
The criminal investigations arm of the IRS, the IRS-CI, is the division that conducts financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, healthcare fraud, identity theft, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, and more. With a nearly 90 percent federal conviction rate, IRS-CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents that have investigative jurisdiction over Internal Revenue Code violations.
It is frightening to learn a segment of criminal tax cases arise from ordinary civil audits. When an IRS auditor discovers suspicious activity during a civil audit, the auditor is able to notify the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division without your knowledge and the IRS has no obligation to tell you when this criminal referral occurs. In fact, in the majority of cases, the civil auditors often will suspend the audit with no explanation. You may be relieved, and think the audit is over, or at least paused and hopefully, will not ever resume. Simultaneously, the IRS begins to quietly build a criminal case against you, which is how an IRS audit becomes a criminal investigation.
The following list features the top 10 2021 IRS Criminal Prosecutions
8. Two Orlando sisters go to prison in $25 million tax fraud scheme. Petra Gomez and her co-conspirator, her sister, Jakeline Lumucso, get sentenced to eight and four years in federal prison, respectively. While operating a tax preparation business from five locations in central Florida, during 2012 to 2016, they filed over 16,000 false tax returns for clients with a total of $25 million in losses to the IRS.
7. Russian bank founder who evades exit tax after renouncing U.S. citizenship is sentenced. Oleg Tinkov, aka Oleg Tinkoff, was sentenced to time-served and one year of supervised release and will pay more than $248 million in taxes. After the company he founded became a multibillion dollar, publicly traded company, he was charged with renouncing his U.S. citizenship and attempting to conceal large stock gains that were reportable to the IRS.
5. Bitcoin exchange owner goes to prison for money laundering. Bulgarian National Rossen G. Iossifov gets sentenced to 121 months in federal prison. He participated in a scheme using popular online auction and sales websites — including eBay and Craigslist — where he falsely advertised high-cost goods that did not exist, usually vehicles. After receiving payment for the goods from the victims, the conspiracy engaged in a complicated money laundering scheme where US associates would accept the victim’s funds, convert those funds to cryptocurrency, and then the cryptocurrency would be transferred to money launderers in other countries.
4. Ex-Orange County church pastor serves 14 years in federal prison for his role in $33 million con to defraud investors. The ex-pastor of the Church of the Health Self, Kent R.E. Whitney will serve 14 years in federal prison and will pay $22.66 million in restitution to victims after he orchestrated a church-based investment scam which defrauded investors of $33 million. Church representatives were directed to appear on television and during live seminars to make misleading and false claims with the goal of luring investors to invest in church entities. Over $33 million of victim funds went to the church and they were given fabricated monthly statements that reassured them their funds had been invested, when in actuality, very little money was really invested.
2. DC Solar owner will serve 30 years in federal prison for billion dollar Ponzi scheme. The owner of California-based DC Solar, Jeff Carpoff, is sentenced to 30 years in federal prison and forfeits $120 million in assets to the U.S. government for victim restitution. He created a Ponzi-scheme selling thousands of manufactured mobile solar generator units (MSGs) that didn’t exist. He committed account and lease revenue fraud while he used the proceeds to purchase luxury vehicles, a sports team, real estate, and a NASCAR team.
1. San Fernando Valley family members sentenced to prison for fraudulently obtaining tens of millions of dollars of COVID relief. For their crimes ranging from bank and wire fraud to aggravated identity theft, the Ayvazyan family received sentences ranging from 10 months of probation to 17.5 years in prison. The family sent phony payroll records and tax documents to the Small Business Administration by using stolen and fictitious identities to submit 150 fraudulent applications for COVID-relief funds. The funds were then used to purchase gold coins, luxury homes, jewelry, designer handbags, and more. Richard Ayvazyan and his wife Terabelian cut their ankle monitoring devices and absconded prior to their hearing; they are currently fugitives.
Our Criminal Tax Attorneys & Tax Fraud Lawyers in Orlando, FL Can Help You
He is the founder and Managing Partner of J. David Tax LawSM. He is the winner of the 2019 Ultimate Tax Attorney awarded by the Jacksonville Business Journal. This award recognizes law firms and attorneys who show exemplary professional talent and skill while demonstrating superior client care, leadership, charitable concern, and civic engagement. Jonathan graduated from Chapman University School of Law. He has practiced law since 2011.
We provide tax solutions for our clients who have IRS and state tax debts, unfiled returns, audits, etc. We advise you on future compliance that enables your individual or business tax problems to be behind you for good.