An indictment unsealed Tuesday shows a federal grand jury in West Palm Beach returned an indictment against a Boynton Beach man for allegations that he filed false tax returns seeking $5.6 million in refunds and misled IRS investigators.
David R. Andre falsely told federal agents he purchased a home with inheritance proceeds, officials alleged, when he used money obtained fraudulently from the IRS, about $464,000.
The case involves returns filed from 2010 to 2015.
No attorney is yet listed for Andre in court records and attempts to reach him were not immediately successful. An indictment alleges crimes have been committed but a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
If convicted, prosecutors said, Andre faces a maximum of three years in prison for corruptly endeavoring to impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws, three years for each count of filing a false tax return, 10 years for each count of theft of government property, and 10 years for each money laundering count.
The top three scams of 2016 — tax scams, debt collection scams and sweepstakes /prizes/gift scams, were the same as in 2015, the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida and the Caribbean said Wednesday.
The Internal Revenue Service has said that rampant identity theft by criminals who file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number is the nation’s biggest tax-related scam.
The IRS estimates it will lose $26 billion due to fraudulent refunds from 2012 through this year.
Florida has been a hotbed for identity theft that exploits the way the IRS doles out tax refunds.
Most victims find out when they file their tax returns electronically and it bounces back because someone has already filed a return using their identity.
Based on more than 30,000 reports consumers submitted on bbb.org/scamtracker, the other top seven scams for 2016 are online purchase, employment, government grant, tech support, advance fee loan, fake check/money order and phishing.
Many are designed to look like real IRS CP2000 notices, which can inform people they owe money from the previous tax year because of differences in income they reported when they signed up for an Obamacare health plan.
But the bogus notices are really designed to get people to hand over their money or personal information to scammers.
So how do you tell what’s fake? Look for red flags. The FTC says the IRS will never:
Initiate contact with you by email or through social media.
Ask you to pay using a gift card, pre-paid debit card, or wire transfer.
Request personal or financial information by email, texts, or social media.
Threaten to immediately have you arrested or deported for not paying.