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Tax Fraud: Married couple faces tax fraud charges in Georgia

The United States tax system is designed for the benefit of all citizens and taxpayers. The funds collected from taxes help to pay for many social services and the infrastructure necessary to maintain society. There are a number of laws aimed at maintaining the integrity of the tax system, and violating tax laws can result in criminal charges. This is what one couple is facing after they were charged with tax fraud in  federal court inGeorgia.

The two defendants, a man and his wife, were accused of conspiring to commit wire fraud by filing fraudulent tax returns during the period beginning in Jan. 2011 and ending in Feb. 2013. The 44-year-old man and his wife were charged with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Federal prosecutors indicated that the couple filed more than 1,100 fraudulent tax returns electronically.

The couple allegedly obtained nearly $1.2 million in funds from fraudulent tax refunds. The authorities have determined that 114 calls were made to the Internal Revenue Service from the wife's cell phone. Both of the defendants are now facing as many as 20 years behind bars and fines of as much as $250,000. Both defendants have decided to plead guilty to specified charges, likely in hopes of obtaining some leniency at sentencing.

Tax fraud charges are often complex, and the government bears the burden of proving them in court by a measure of proof characterized as beyond a reasonable doubt. The fact that someone in Georgia is accused of wire fraud and identity theft is not proof of guilt. Prosecutors must actually establish the accusations by appropriate evidence, a burden that is often difficult to meet. Nevertheless, in some cases, defendants decide they are better served by seeking a plea agreement with prosecutors in exchange for favorable consideration at sentencing. This particular case will now proceed to a sentencing hearing, and defense counsel is likely focused on presenting arguments in favor of a sentence at the lower end of the federal guidelines. 

Source: walb.com, "Ashburn man pleads guilty to tax fraud", Dave Miller, March 13, 2015

Please see here for another blog on tax fraud.

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