Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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Tax fraud trial underway

A tax fraud scheme that reportedly lasted from January 2009 to January 2013 is bring considered in federal court. Of the 12 defendants indicted in the case, one has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. The scheme consisted of fraudulent returns being filed after the defendants allegedly collected people's personal information, filed the tax returns and had the refunds deposited into bank accounts accessible to them.

An IRS agent was alerted that there was some suspicious activity involving tax refund checks that were direct deposited into the bank accounts in question, but the checks were not addressed to the person who owned the bank accounts.

One of the defendants claimed to suspect that withdrawing money out of the bank accounts for a commission might be illegal, but she reportedly did not ask questions about the legality of her actions.

Two of the defendants have been accused of allegedly collecting personal information about the identities of the people for whom they filed false tax returns. They supposedly acquired the information at their workplaces, the Georgia Regents Medical Center and the Gracewood Hospital.

When arrested for a crime with multiple defendants, a person accused should remember that multiple defendants in a case can have an effect on how the trial runs. Sometimes the words or actions of a fellow defendant can affect the outcome of the case. Not only will an experienced lawyer be able offer advice about how to proceed with the trial, but the skill that an attorney gets paid for is knowing how to argue against the prosecution's points and break down their case.

Above all else, someone accused of a crime should be sure to speak to their attorney about what they should say or avoid saying. The advice of an attorney who has successfully represented defendants in the same position is invaluable in the process of defending oneself.

Source: The Augusta Chronicle, "First defendant in income tax fraud case pleads guilty," Sandy Hodson, Apr. 18, 2013

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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