The IRS Conducting Criminal Investigations into COVID 19 Crimes
The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division is acknowledging the one year anniversary of the federal CARES Act by renewing its efforts to find and prosecute those who have taken advantage of the Paycheck Protection Plan.
Special Agent in Charge for IRS criminal investigations in the Denver Office Andy Tsui described the focus of the current investigations.
“Some individuals and or their businesses are applying for these loans that are intended to help small businesses and individuals get through some of the hard financial hardships that everyone is experiencing right now,” said Tsui But the egregious violators we're seeing are applying for these loans, getting these loans pretty large significant amounts, sometimes you know, 50 100,000 or more, and then turning around and using that money for personal expenses like buying fancy cars, boats, and that kind of thing.”
Tsui said many of their tips come from the general public.
“We're very involved in a COVID Fraud Task Force that is headed by the U.S. Attorney's Office and involves multiple federal, state and local agencies,” he said. “The leads come in from many different areas, including the general public. We do see quite a bit come in directly from the public, who may have witnessed or are aware of some kind of fraud going on. There are a lot of different sources and we certainly appreciate the public interest in reporting those kinds of frauds.”
Tsui pointed out that defrauding the IRS is a federal crime.
“These are actually federal criminal violations that we're looking to prosecute in federal court,” he said. “Of course we’re hoping for significant sentences because anyone abusing these systems should be held accountable.”
Tsui said individuals and businesses should take advantage of the Paycheck Protection Plan loans, but to be on the lookout for fraud.
“If a business is in need of one of these loans and is eligible for it, certainly apply for it,” he said. “If there is any suspicion that someone may have used their identity or committed some fraud linked to their business identity, then certainly report it. “We definitely take those very seriously and would investigate those as a high priority.”
To report a suspected tax crime, visit this website.
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