Eight people from Broward County, including three siblings, are accused of stealing identities to get illegal tax refunds in order to buy thousands of dollars in gift cards from South Florida retailers.
Identity theft is a common problem in Florida, as many elderly individuals are preyed upon in communities all across Florida. However, organized identity theft and fraud from charities and other databases of potential victims are becoming the concern for law enforcement.
Identity theft is the criminal act of taking another person’s identity, stepping into their shoes for the purpose of obtaining some sort of benefit, either from loan applications, credit cards from banks or retailers, stealing money from a person’s existing accounts, creating accounts with utility companies, leasing automobiles and residences, filing for bankruptcy, or even obtaining employment.
Most who steal other’s identities have one goal in mind: money. Most unfortunately do not keep a watchful eye on their records, leaving many to sometimes catastrophically suffer by a few keystrokes. The intent behind a single person may be present, however, many others may be blamed in the process of finding the actual perpetrator.
Some people have the ability to think incredibly analytically, giving them the opportunity to pull off large thefts unnoticed. However, in theft cases, that ability is sometimes used to frame others for the crime, either from leaving a trail of accessibility to one’s position at work , or leaving a trail of evidence on one’s computer of the fraud. Crimes like these may seem like major problems for not only one’s self, but for many other people.
Some common identity theft crimes include:
– Hacking into computer databases or private computers to gain financial information
– Phishing (posing as a reputable company to gain personal and financial information)
– Mail theft or dumpster-diving to obtain financial applications or information
Tax fraud identity theft cases usually stem from an accusation of intentional concealment or misrepresentation of one’s financial situation in an effort to reduce the taxes one either has or increases the amount one gets back on a return. Sometimes the crime involves simply falsifying deductions, stating an incorrect income in order to fit in a certain tax bracket, under-reporting or not reporting one’s monetary gains; however, some of these crimes are as complicated as forging federal tax forms.
Both charges are different from other theft crimes in Jacksonville, as these charges, are considered by most to be a white collar crime and is investigated by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). The Criminal Investigative Division (“CID”), the IRS’s specialized investigative unit, composed of individuals with strong accounting and financial backgrounds, is responsible for combating tax fraud.
If one has been accused of a crime such as this, one should obtain an experienced attorney to fight the case. Remember, in the case of Jacksonville and other areas in and around North Florida, hundreds of people at local charity organizations had access to a database with personal information of tens of thousands of the region’s needy population a smart treasure for crafty identity thieves.
Remember, in cases involving multiple identity theft victims, after more than a few fraudulent transactions and tax returns later, the serial offender, or individual who gathers masses of information for use or sale, will be prosecuted on a much higher level than an individual that uses a person’s credit card once at a department store and gets caught.
One has one choice of relief in a situation like this. One charged with a crime of this nature should contact an experienced Jacksonville identity theft and tax fraud crimes defense attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected. One can either sit back and wait for the Judge to render a decision against one, or one can take charge of one’s defense and win one’s cause for freedom.