One type of white collar crime defense handled by an Oklahoma fraud attorney is tax fraud.
What is Tax Fraud?
Tax fraud can take any number of forms that an individual or business may take to avoid paying the full amount of taxes owed. This can result from tax evasion, failure to file, fraudulent tax deductions, claiming false dependents, and more. Though it is estimated that 17% of all individual tax returns have some error, serious cases of intentional fraud are prosecuted heavily.
Tax evasion or tax fraud can lead to fines, tax penalties, accrued interest, liens, bank levies, wage garnishment, and seizure of assets. Tax crimes are also punishable by lengthy prison sentences. A government study revealed that the majority of tax fraud--up to 75%--is committed by individual tax payers rather than businesses and corporations. Individual tax fraud is committed primarily by middle income earners. However, tax evasion reaches headlines when a large corporation or, even more attention-getting, a celebrity is accused.
Famous Examples of Tax Fraud
Some of the most famous people accused of tax fraud include:
- Martha Stewart - Did not pay $220,000 in taxes on a Hamptons vacation home
- Wesley Snipes - Claimed he was a "nonresident alien," despite being born in Florida; sentenced to three years in jail and required to pay $17 million in back taxes
- Willie Nelson - Faced $16.7 million in back taxes; when his assets were seized and auctioned, many fans bought the items and returned them to the beloved country singer
- Nicholas Cage - Accumulated $12 million in back taxes and the foreclosure of his multi-million dollar Las Vegas home; Cage blamed his financial manager
- Joe Francis - The producer of Girls Gone Wild was accused of taking $20 million in fraudulent deductions
Failing to report income and assets is just one method for attempting to avoid paying taxes. Tax fraud can take other forms as well, such as when a business keeps two sets of books, doesn't keep books at all, or manufactures or alters checks and receipts.
Tax fraud investigations are conducted by government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service. Backed by the full force of the government, these investigations are usually quite thorough, and the individual suspected may not even realize he or she is under investigation until he or she is arrested or charged. For white collar defense in Oklahoma contact a lawyer who is experienced at handling Federal fraud cases.