Gary Rogers, of East Meadow, N.Y., was arrested on Monday after being charged with identity theft and tax fraud after allegedly filing more than 200 false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Rogers was named in a federal criminal complaint that alleged he used stolen identification information to make false claims against the U.S. government by filing false tax returns to obtain fraudulent refunds. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, Rogers filed approximately 200 federal income tax returns from 2004 through 2010 using the identification information of others. The complaint alleges that Rogers sought approximately $4,393,356 in fraudulent refunds over the six year period. There is no indication how much Rogers may have actually received, or whose identities he allegedly used to obtain the funds.

In addition to the traditional IRS functions, the IRS also has a Criminal Investigations (CI) Unit. The CI Unit employees approximately 2,700 special agents whose sole purpose is to investigate tax fraud, money laundering, and Bank Secrecy Act violations. The investigations of money laundering and BSA violations tend to overlap with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN); however, the CI Unit is the only federal department that investigates criminal violations of the tax code.

The CI Unit focuses on several areas of financial crimes, including bankruptcy fraud, corporate tax fraud, employment tax evasion, and other crimes as related to filing false tax returns. The U.S. government clearly has a heightened interest in the financial sector, particularly in this economic climate. It is important to remember that mistakes contained on a tax return are not necessarily criminal violations. The CI Unit is more concerned with willful, or intentional, violations of tax fraud and evasion.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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