IRS-CI releases 2015 annual report

The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI) released its 2015 annual report in early December. "This annual report is an unbelievable reflection of our great cases. I am proud that we have stayed mission-focused. While our highest priority is to enforce the nation's tax laws, we cannot underestimate the deterrent effect we are having on would-be criminals and the impact we are having on tax administration," said CI Chief Richard Weber.

The annual report includes case summaries reflecting the "diversity and complexity of those investigations such as tax-related identity theft, money laundering, public corruption, cybercrime and terrorist financing."

According to the report, the Fiscal Year 2015 investigative priorities were:

  • Identity theft fraud
  • Abusive return preparer fraud and questionable refund fraud
  • International tax fraud
  • Fraud referral program
  • Political/public corruption
  • Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)
  • Bank Secrecy Act and Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) review teams
  • Asset forfeiture
  • Voluntary Disclosure Program
  • Counterterrorism and sovereign citizens

In fiscal year 2015, 3,853 investigations were initiated, 3,289 prosecutions recommended and 3,208 information/indictments issued. There were 2,879 convictions and 3,092 sentences handed down. The percent of prosecutions resulting in prison was 80.8 percent.

Notable cases

One of the highlights of the year was the unsealing of indictments in the FIFA investigation. One of the most complex tax evasion investigations undertaken by CI, the investigation ultimately involved the coordination of agencies in 33 different countries and evolved into a corruption and money laundering investigation as well.

Also of note was the case of Dr. Farid Fata. Dr. Fata intentionally misdiagnosed people with cancer and then charged them for chemotherapy they did not need. CI's various financial investigations into the dealings of Dr. Farid uncovered the fraud.

Another important case involved the website "Silk Road." The website was used to facilitate the sale of illegal contraband, include large amounts of heroin. The IRS was able to identify the site's owner and creator, Ross Ulbricht, prosecute him and obtain a conviction of life in prison.

Finally, former construction boss, Leon Benzer, who was the mastermind behind a plan to defraud numerous homeowners' associations, was prosecuted for tax evasion and sentenced to 188 months in federal prison.

Contact a Texas tax lawyer

If you are under investigation by the IRS, it is important to take the investigation seriously and work with an experienced tax attorney who can protect your rights. To arrange a free initial consultation with a tax attorney, call the Law Office of Luis R. De Luna, PLLC, today at 866-843-4486 or contact us online.