IRS announces arrests and indictments after two-week campaign to fight refund fraud and identity theft

IR-2019-50, March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced the results of a national two-week enforcement and education campaign to combat refund crimes and identity theft that resulted in numerous legal actions against suspected criminals and businesses committing these crimes.

"Identity theft is a pervasive crime and stopping it remains a top priority of the IRS," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "The IRS, with the help of our Security Summit partners, continues to make progress in this area, but we need to continue our significant efforts to protect taxpayers and assist those who have been a victim of identity theft. We are fighting this problem with enhanced systems, smarter technology and the efforts of our dedicated workforce, including Criminal Investigation. We will retain our relentless, vigorous pursuit of those who prey upon others in this arena."

Working with the Department of Justice Tax Division and U.S. Attorneys around the nation, IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) made 11 arrests, indicted 15 individuals and saw five other individuals or businesses sentenced who perpetrated some type of refund fraud or identity theft scheme.

“Millions of taxpayers put their trust in tax professionals to prepare accurate and lawful returns.
Unfortunately, a few bad apples take advantage of that trust for their own greed and profit," said Don Fort, Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation. "CI's special agents are highly skilled at unraveling fraudulent schemes. With our partners in other agencies and the private sector, we are dismantling these crooked enterprises and enforcing our tax laws.”

More broadly via the Security Summit initiative, the IRS has joined with representatives of the state tax agencies, software industry, tax industry, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors to combat identity theft refund fraud to protect the nation's taxpayers. The joint public-private sector effort has helped make inroads identity theft since its formation in 2015, helping reduce a number of key indicators of identity theft at the IRS.

For more on identity theft and CI visit IRS.gov.