What You Can Learn From the Top IRS Criminal Investigations

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation (CI) division has ramped up resources for enforcing the law. Each year, the IRS CI highlights the top cases that have made a significant impact on the detection and prosecution of tax crimes. In this blog post, we will explore two of the top IRS criminal investigations of 2022. These cases can provide insights into the importance of tax compliance and the ways in which individual taxpayers can be held responsible, so that you can find potential red flags before things get out of hand.

Todd & Julie Chrisley – Bank and Tax Fraud 

T.V. personalities Todd and Julie Chrisley were convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit tax evasion. They were sentenced to 12 and 7 years of prison, respectively, and are required to pay restitution of a currently unknown amount. How did they get here? The Chrisley’s allegedly defrauded community banks in Atlanta to obtain approximately $36 million. The pair were able to obtain large sums of money by submitting false bank statements, audit reports, and personal financial statements, then filed for bankruptcy once the money was gone. 

This is an unusual case with many layers and alleged co-conspirators, but the bottom line is that they failed to file or pay tax returns from 2013 to 2016. Not only does obtaining loans for large amounts of money send up red flags for the IRS’s radar, but failing to file taxes for several years is guaranteed to raise eyebrows. If you’re in a situation where you feel as though you can’t pay or file taxes because you’re concerned how your finances will be interpreted by IRS officials, speak with a tax attorney as soon as possible to discuss options.

Michael J. DaCorta – Ponzi Scheme

Entrepreneur Michael J. DaCorta was convicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, money laundering, and filing a false income tax return. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison and is required to pay over $23 million in restitution to the alleged victims of the scheme. DaCorta ran Oasis International Group, Ltd., an investment company that convinced hundreds of people to entrust them with millions of dollars. 

From 2011 to 2019 DaCorta allegedly used the money to fund the illusion that Oasis was highly profitable and falsely reported earnings to investors. To keep up with appearances, he reportedly lived an extremely lavish lifestyle and used it to convince new investors to contribute. In a familiar turn of events, DaCorta underreported on his 2017 tax return, and claimed negative income to receive a tax refund. The common thread between these two cases: inaccurate tax filings.

Conclusion

The IRS publishes investigations like these as a means to highlight their ability to enforce tax laws and potentially deter others from repeating the actions of those convicted. The large majority of individuals will not experience such extreme measures taken against them, but a collection of smaller penalties can help fund large investigations similar to the ones listed above. The main takeaway is that the prosecution was able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these crimes were committed intentionally.

Tax law compliance can be extremely complicated and challenging to keep up with. No matter what situation you’re in, the best thing to do is to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of all financial transactions and investments. Although consequences can seem severe, it’s easy for mistakes to happen. Creating a paper trail that shows that you attempted to be compliant will improve your odds during an investigation or audit. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, but the law firm of Weisberg Kainen Mark is here to help. For a confidential consultation, call (305) 374-5544.

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Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL

As experienced trial lawyers with a passion for justice, our firm provides clients with compelling advocacy, attorney availability, and creative solutions to your tax or criminal law matters.

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