by Brian Mahany
[Ed. Note: This post contains one of the lighter moments in the tax field. Most of our posts are geared to current and more pressing tax issues.]
No one likes the tax man. No one. When I served as head of Maine’s state revenue service I paid my taxes but didn’t enjoy doing it. I also didn’t threaten to kill revenue department employees. Not everyone exercises such restraint. A recent indictment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York reveals that criminals can be both entertaining and stupid.
Many of us have lost our cool and said stupid things we instantly regretted. As a former agent, I have been on the receiving end of some of those stupid comments. I suspect that tow truck drivers that work for the city’s impound yard and meter checkers get their fair share of dumb comments too. It may be wrong but it’s human nature. Enter Charles Patterson of the Bronx. Patterson isn’t likely to win a Darwin award for advanced criminal behavior anytime soon.
According to an indictment earlier this month, the IRS says Patterson joined forces with Shamel Charles who at the time was operating a tax return preparation business known as “420 Multiservices.” (The apparent reference to marijuana smoking is never a good way to avoid law enforcement attention.)
420 then proceeded to file approximately 20 tax returns seeking $200,000 in refunds. Where were these refunds going? Into bank accounts controlled by the defendants, of course.
Preparing returns and seeking refunds is not a crime if you legitimately believe you are owed a refund. Stealing the social security numbers of other people and having checks deposited into your own account is illegal and amazingly stupid. You are going to caught and it won’t be hard to find you.
If stealing the identities of other people isn’t bad enough, Patterson was determined to get an extra piece of the pie. He filed his own refund request, with the assistance of 420 (perhaps literally) and listed phony employers and withholdings.
At this point Patterson is no longer a guy who hates paying taxes or got a little “sloppy” on his return. If the allegations are true, he is a thief and a bad one at that.
Obviously, Patterson, Charles and several other involved in the scheme were caught. Unlike the others who presumably went peacefully, Patterson had to threaten two criminal investigation division special agents – armed special agents – and tell them he kills IRS agents.
Patterson is facing a lengthy prison sentence if convicted of the charges against him.
The lessons here are obvious. Refund scams in which you steal someone’s identity but have the refund deposited into your own account is an instant ticket to a Club Fed vacation. Threatening the feds who are simply doing their job just adds fuel to the fire.
Mahany & Ertl represents people accused of not paying their proper share of taxes. We protect your liberty in a criminal tax investigation and defend you in audits and collection actions. If you receive and audit notice or learn of a criminal investigation, seek professional tax counsel immediately.
Mahany & Ertl, LLC – America’s Tax Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee; Wisconsin, Detroit, Michigan and Portland, Maine. We represent people and small businesses with IRS problems anywhere in the United States.