Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “Fraud”

Abusive Tax Schemes (aka Illegal Tax Shelters)

Abusive Tax Schemes – https://www.irs.gov/compliance/criminal-investigation/abusive-tax-schemes-criminal-investigation-ci

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are the most common types of abusive tax schemes?
  • How do people hide money overseas?
  • How does a false billing scheme work?

Description:

This is where a writer should go for stories that involve illegal tax shelters and creative (and illegal) uses of offshore accounts. Here’s an example of what the IRS considers to be an abusive tax scheme:

Diamond Merchant Sentenced for Conspiring to Hide $7.1 Million in Swiss Bank Accounts

On November 9, 2011, in Manhattan, N.Y., Richard Werdiger, a former client of Swiss bank UBS AG, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, one year of supervised release, fined $50,000 and ordered to pay a $600 special assessment. Werdiger pleaded guilty in March 2011 to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by hiding more than $7.1 million at UBS, filing false federal income tax returns, and evading nearly $400,000 of taxes. Werdiger agreed to pay a civil penalty of more than $3.8 million for his failure to report his overseas accounts. Restitution will be determined at a later date. According to court documents and statements made in court, from 1986 to 1988, Werdiger opened multiple accounts at UBS under the name of sham Liechtenstein-based foundations in order to evade taxes on money that he had inherited from his father. To further conceal his ownership of these accounts, Werdiger instructed UBS to permit him to communicate with the bank using the code name “Trygon.” In late 2000, Werdiger opened up yet another account at UBS in the name of a sham Panamanian corporation. This allowed him to continue to invest in U.S. securities without having UBS notify the IRS of his identity or withhold taxes on income arising out of his holding U.S. securities. During the conspiracy, Werdiger used the funds hidden offshore to satisfy various business obligations, such as paying off business debts incurred by his companies, Michael Werdiger Inc. and Eloquence Corporation, which sell diamonds and other jewelry.

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Program and Emphasis Areas for IRS Criminal Investigation

Program and Emphasis Areas for IRS Criminal Investigation – http://www.irs.gov/uac/Program-and-Emphasis-Areas-for-IRS-Criminal-Investigation

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Why is the IRS involved with narcotics investigation?
  • What are some signs of an abusive tax scheme?
  • Where can I find examples of healthcare billing fraud?

Description:

This is an overview of the types of investigations that the Internal Revenue Service gets involved in. Clicking on the title of a section brings you to a fact sheet with a more detailed overview of that fraud topic, statistical information on the occurrence of the fraud, and most helpfully for writers, examples of cases of that particular type of fraud. The types of investigations are:

 

  • Abusive Return Preparer Enforcement
  • Abusive Tax Schemes
  • Bankruptcy Fraud
  • Corporate Fraud
  • Employment Tax Enforcement
  • Financial Institution Fraud
  • Gaming
  • General Fraud Investigations
  • Healthcare Fraud
  • Identity Theft Schemes
  • Insurance Fraud
  • International Investigations
  • Money Laundry & Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)
  • Mortgage & Real Estate Fraud
  • Narcotics-Related Investigation
  • Nonfiler Enforcement
  • Public Corruption Crimes
  • Questionable Refund Program (QRP)

Here’s a summary of one of the IRS narcotics investigations:

Seven St. Croix Men Sentenced for Money Laundering and Drug Trafficking

On December 2, 2011, in St. Croix, V.I., seven defendants were sentenced for money laundering and drug trafficking. In March 2011, Lionel Fawkes, Christopher Alfred, Shango Allick, David Clouden, Marcelino Garcia, Jamaal Maragh and Jamal Young were found guilty of numerous counts of money laundering. Additionally, all of these defendants, except Maragh, were convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Fawkes only, of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The evidence at trial disclosed a drug trafficking organization operating in Fairbanks, Alaska, that was supplied with narcotics from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cocaine and crack cocaine were sent, usually via Express Mail parcels, from St. Croix to Fairbanks. Members of the organization in Alaska then distributed the narcotics in Alaska for significant financial profit. Some of the illegal drug proceeds were then sent back to St. Croix, via Western Union wire transfers and money orders. Documentation uncovered showed at least 167 wire transfers and money orders were sent between St. Croix and Fairbanks, totaling approximately $307,849.

Internet Fraud Schemes

Internet Fraud Schemes – http://www.ic3.gov/crimeschemes.aspx

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are some signs of auction fraud?
  • How does a parcel courier scheme work?
  • Why is shipping items to a third country almost always a bad idea?

Description:

There are a number of agencies with jurisdiction over internet fraud, for example the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission, just to name two. The Internet Fraud Complaint Center is a partnership of federal agencies working together on e-fraud issues. This page provides information on different fraud schemes, including:

  • Auction Fraud
  • Auction Fraud — Romania
  • Counterfeit Cashier’s Check
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Debt Elimination
  • Parcel Courier Email Scheme
  • Employment/Business Opportunities
  • Escrow Services Fraud
  • Internet Extortion
  • Lotteries
  • Nigerian Letter or “419”
  • Phishing/Spoofing
  • Reshipping
  • Third Party Receiver of Funds

This site might be helpful in deciding which schemes a con-artist character might become involved in or provide details about how a specific scheme might work. It can also provide a way for honest characters to get ensnared in crime.

FBI Jury Duty Fraud

FBI Jury Duty Fraud – http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2006/june/jury_scam060206

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How can you tell when a call purporting to be from a court is fake?
  • What information should you never give over the phone?

Description:

This is a 2006 news release on a less common scam that involves fear of authority. From the article:

The phone rings, you pick it up, and the caller identifies himself as an officer of the court. He says you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say you never received a notice. To clear it up, the caller says he’ll need some information for “verification purposes”-your birth date, social security number, maybe even a credit card number.

This might be a good story starter or backstory for a character.

FBI Common Fraud Schemes

FBI Common Fraud Schemes – http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are some signs you are dealing with telemarketing fraud?
  • How does a prime bank bond scheme work?
  • How can reverse mortgages figure in scams against the elderly?

Description:

The place to go if you want to feature a scam in your story. Includes mail and telemarketing schemes. Also provides information on “Rolling Labs” and other medical scams.

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