IR-2015-66, April 7, 2015
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced the release of its IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) annual report, reflecting significant accomplishments and enforcement actions taken in fiscal year 2014.
Focusing on international tax fraud, return preparer and questionable refund fraud, identity theft, public corruption, bank secrecy act violations, significant money laundering investigations and terrorist financing cases, IRS CI initiated 4,297 cases in FY 2014.
“There is no doubt that we have had to be creative to overcome some of the budget challenges this year,” said Richard Weber, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation Division. “But in so doing, we maintained a steady focus on what is important. Our highest priority is to enforce our country’s tax laws and support tax administration to ensure compliance with the law and combat fraud.”
The annual report is released each year for the purpose of highlighting the agency’s successes while providing a historical snapshot of the make-up and priorities of the organization. The very first Chief of IRS CI, Elmer Lincoln Irey, who served from 1919 to 1946, released such a document each year during his leadership to showcase the agency’s work.
As the only federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over federal tax crimes, CI boasted the highest conviction rate in all of federal law enforcement in FY 2014 — at 93.4%. CI is routinely called upon by prosecutors across the country to be the lead financial investigative agency on a wide variety of financial crimes including international tax evasion, identity theft and transnational organized crime.
“We are incredibly proud of our conviction rate,” said Weber. “As a federal law enforcement agency, that conviction rate reflects the pride of our agents and the quality of our case work. We are the best financial investigators in the world and I am extremely proud of our special agents and professional staff.”
CI investigates potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner to foster confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law. The 40-page report summarizes a wide variety of IRS CI activity throughout the fiscal year and includes case summaries on a range of tax crimes, money laundering, public corruption, terrorist financing and narcotics trafficking financial crimes.
The annual report includes case summaries that represent the diversity and complexity of CI investigations. Cases in the report touch almost every part of the world and were some of the most successful in the history of CI. Two of the biggest stories of the year — Credit Suisse and Bank Leumi — are included in the report. In the largest criminal tax case ever filed, Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid and assist U.S. taxpayers in filing false income tax returns and agreed to pay a total of $2.6 billion.
Following the Credit Suisse investigation, CI led the case against Bank Leumi Group, a major Israeli international bank that admitted conspiring to aid and assist U.S. taxpayers to prepare and present false tax returns. This unprecedented agreement marks the first time an Israeli bank has admitted to such criminal conduct. Bank Leumi Group will pay the U.S. a total of $270 million and cease to provide banking and investment services for all accounts held or beneficially owned by U.S. taxpayers.
"The budget challenges facing our agency are nothing new. In the past five years, CI’s staff has been reduced approximately 11 percent bringing staffing to 1970’s levels. This trend cannot continue,” Weber added. “We will continue to remain focused on finding and investigating great cases that make a real difference in compliance of our nation’s tax laws."