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Tax preparation fraud abounds in North Carolina, other states

Many Americans know the stress of the approaching tax season. Even though crunching those numbers can be demanding, financial experts say that other dangers may lurk beneath the surface of your tax-preparation efforts. Some tax preparers in North Carolina and other states are accused of serious federal crimes after allegedly altering financial data and stealing others' identities.

Identity theft in North Carolina can occur when someone steals Social Security numbers, identification codes and names. Defendants may be accused of using the identity information to file false reports, which are then used to net a large refund. Some victims discover that their identity has been used only after the Internal Revenue Service notifies them that a return has already been filed.

Criminal defendants may be accused of using falsified information to take advantage of tax credits and large deductions. Some of the more common violations include the misuse of a first-time homebuyer credit or education credits. Authorities say that one recent scheme in nearby Florida ran for about three years, and the defendants were required to pay $2.2 million in restitution.

These defendants are accused of taking Social Security numbers using a variety of methods. One woman was accused of stealing numbers from elderly nursing home patients. Stolen wallets are also helpful sources. Finally, some defendants may be accused of gaining access through medical files and other confidential records.

Criminal defendants who are facing federal crimes related to such tax fraud allegations may benefit from the assistance of a North Carolina criminal defense attorney. These professionals may be able to provide additional information about defendants' legal rights and options after an arrest. Some defendants may face significant restitution and even time in federal custody, depending on the severity of the alleged federal crimes.

Source: KSDK, "ID theft lets crooks crank out fake tax returns" Susan Tompor, Mar. 02, 2014

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