Archive for LDR News Release

New Orleans woman arrested for tax fraud scheme involving prison inmates

 

Darylynn Carter

Darylynn Carter

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman faces multiple felonies for a tax fraud scheme that involved filing phony tax returns in the names of other taxpayers, including two prison inmates.

Darylynn Carter (Booking Photo) is accused of filing fraudulent tax returns and directing the refunds to her own bank account. The phony tax filings included falsified W2 income tax withholding documents.

Investigators determined that in all five cases, the taxpayers whose names appeared on the tax returns had earned no income during the tax year in question. In two cases, they had earned no income because they were incarcerated at the time.

Carter is the 45th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office. She was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday on five counts of computer fraud, five counts of injuring public records, and one count of theft in the amount of $1,755.

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LDR reminds vendors about sales tax collections at special events, including 4th of July

BATON ROUGE – As the state enters its festive summer period, agents of the Louisiana Department of Revenue are reminding vendors that they conduct on-site enforcement of the state’s sales tax laws with vendors at special events such as fairs, festivals, craft shows and trade shows, the department announced Tuesday.

“Louisiana law requires all businesses and individuals making retails sales in the state to collect and remit sales taxes,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “This enforcement action helps to ensure that vendors at special events don’t enjoy an unfair competitive advantage over other local businesses.”

Louisiana hosts more than 400 festivals each year.  A “vendor” is defined as any person or entity selling merchandise or providing a taxable service. This includes sellers, promoters, exhibitors and booth owners.

Taxable products and services include, but are not limited to:

  • Prepared food
  • Clothing
  • Arts & crafts
  • Event admissions

All special event retailers must have a Louisiana sales tax account. They must collect sales taxes from their customers, and must remit those taxes to state and local taxing authorities. Violators are subject to fines, penalties, interest, and possible civil litigation or criminal prosecution.

Vendors needing to register for a sales tax account should visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/specialevents.

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Prairieville woman arrested for tax fraud, theft

Heather Dixon

Heather Dixon

BATON ROUGE – A Prairieville woman faces dozens of felony charges for a criminal scheme that yielded tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent state income tax refunds.

Heather Dixon (Booking Photo), of 14303 Bluff Lakes Drive in Prairieville, is accused of filing false Louisiana individual income tax returns on behalf of herself and her husband with inflated income and withholding data. She and her husband, Tyler Torres, received more than $80,000 in fraudulent refunds. With penalties and interest, the amount owed the state is $135,072.66.

Dixon was arrested on Thursday, June 25, 2015, and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 20 counts of computer fraud, 20 counts of filing or maintaining false public records, one count of criminal penalty for evasion of tax, and one count of theft in the amount of $81,591.58. She is the 44th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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Used car dealer arrested for tax fraud, loses dealer’s license

BATON ROUGE – A Metairie used car dealer faces felony charges for evading sales taxes on the purchases of a Ferrari and a classic Lincoln Continental.

Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) say Joseph Wayne Leone (Booking Photo) bought the cars using his LDR Resale Certificate, which allows sales-tax exempt purchases of items that are intended for resale to customers.  But he failed to pay sales taxes on the vehicles after registering them for his personal use.

“There are many different types of tax fraud,” said Barry Kelly, director of the LDR Criminal Investigations Division. “We investigate and prosecute anyone who defrauds Louisiana taxpayers.”

Leone bought the 2006 Ferrari for $124,000 from a dealer in Florida. When registering the car with the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV), Leone listed its taxable value as $5,000 and sold it to himself for that amount. Then he paid $479.75 in sales taxes for that purchase. He owes $6,885.48 in state sales taxes, penalties and interest for underreporting the taxable value of the Ferrari.

Leone also bought a 1956 Lincoln Continental in Texas for $44,000, but registered it with the Louisiana OMV for personal use with his home address. Because personal ownership of the car is not tax exempt, he owes $2,540 in state sales taxes, penalties and interest.

LDR worked closely with the Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission on this investigation. “Mr. Leone’s used motor vehicle dealer’s license has been revoked,” said LUMVC Executive Director Derek Parnell. “Further investigation into his activities is underway, and more violations are pending.”

Leone was booked on Tuesday into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of Theft, Injuring Public Records and Failing to Account for State Tax Monies. He is the 43rd person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative between LDR and the state Attorney General’s Office.

“Our anti-fraud initiative with the Department of Revenue has resulted in dozens of arrests of individuals whose actions negatively impact the hard-working taxpayers of Louisiana,” Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said. “We will continue to investigate and pursue those who commit fraud and violate the law.”

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Destrehan couple face felony charges for fraud, tax evasion

BATON ROUGE – A Destrehan tax preparer and her husband face felony counts of fraud and tax evasion, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Wednesday.

The charges against Ihsia (Ee-Sha) Eugene and Tedrick Eugene, of 62 Brandon Hall in Destrehan, are the result of a joint anti-fraud investigation by the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office. They are the 41st and 42nd suspects arrested since the inter-agency crackdown began two years ago in March 2013.

Investigators say that as a partner in Secure Tax Service LLC, Ihsia Eugene (Booking Photo) filed tax returns claiming fabricated business loss deductions on behalf of clients who did not own businesses, or who had not sustained any business losses. The phony deductions resulted in $62,660 in fraudulent refunds.

Eugene is accused also of underreporting the income she earned from Secure Tax Service. She reported earnings of $22,000 in 2012 when bank records demonstrate she earned $84,704.38. And in 2013, she failed to file a tax return at all on earnings of $88,296. In all, she is suspected of evading state taxes on income of $151,000. She was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday, March 10 on 11 counts of Filing or Maintaining False Public Records, 11 counts of Computer Fraud, two counts of Criminal Penalty for Evasion of Tax and one count of Failure to File.

In a related case, Tedrick Eugene (Booking Photo) is charged with evading state taxes on income of $28,386 he earned from Secure Tax Service by failing to file a tax return in 2013. He was arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday, March 10 on one count of Criminal Penalty for Evasion of Tax and one count of Failure to File.

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Tax preparer arrested on dozens of felony counts for tax fraud

 

Lisa Adams - 1617 Carriage Lane, Harvey

Lisa Adams – 1617 Carriage Lane, Harvey

BATON ROUGE – A Harvey woman faces dozens of felony charges for falsifying information on her own tax return and those of clients of her tax preparation business.

Lisa Adams, of 1617 Carriage Lane in Harvey, allegedly submitted state tax returns for clients of Omega Tax Services that contained false business losses for companies that had not sustained any losses, and in some cases for companies that did not exist.

Louisiana Department of Revenue investigators interviewed ten of Adams’ clients. Four of them were business owners who said she fabricated losses on their 2013 tax returns. And six of them said she listed business losses on their returns despite the fact that they did not own or operate businesses in 2013.

Adams is accused also of falsifying her own tax return, citing losses for a florist shop she claimed she owned in 2013. There is no evidence that business ever existed.

And Adams is charged with falsifying a mortgage interest statement to claim a tax deduction for a property in New Orleans. In that case, she received a fraudulent refund in the amount of $716.

The entire series of fraud schemes amounted to $28,458.

Adams was arrested on Wednesday, February 25 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 11 counts of filing or maintaining false public records, 11 counts of computer fraud, two counts of forgery and one count of theft. She is the 41st person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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Booking Photo: Lisa Adams – 1617 Carriage Lane, Harvey, LA

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Business tax assistance available at New Orleans Dept. of Revenue office

BATON ROUGE – Business operators and tax preparers needing help with corporate income, sales, withholding, and other business taxes can get in-person customer service at the New Orleans regional office of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR).

Beginning March 2, the office will be open Monday through Friday from 8AM-4PM. Customer service is by appointment only. Call 504-568-5231 to leave a voicemail message requesting an appointment. An LDR tax officer will return the call within 24 hours to confirm.

Assistance at the New Orleans LDR office is for business taxes only. Regional office staff cannot help with the preparation of state individual income tax returns. For answers to questions about individual income taxes, visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/IndividualIncomeTax or call 855-307-3893.

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LDR to Begin Issuing Refunds the Week of March 2

BATON ROUGE – In response to the recent increase and still unfolding developments centered around fraudulent tax returns filed across the country, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced today that the Department is taking extra precautions to verify the filings and refunds of taxpayers and will extend the date to begin issuing refunds by one week, until the week of March 2.

“Given the increase in the filing of fraudulent tax returns around the country, where criminals are stealing identities and claiming refunds in others’ names, we decided to implement additional security measures this year to ensure we detect any suspicious activity, and to protect the identities of our taxpayers,” said Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield.

The extended period will provide the Department with more time to closely review returns and to utilize its identification verification process for individual taxpayers when and if inconsistencies in returns are identified.

While identity-based tax refund fraud is still a relatively new problem for revenue departments in the 43 states where taxpayers file tax returns, the Department of Revenue is ahead of the curve. Over the past two years, LDR has prevented over $11 million in fraudulent tax refunds from going out the door. Also, through a joint anti-fraud initiative with the state Attorney General’s office, 40 people have been arrested for fraudulent activity.

“We recognize that this situation places an undeserved burden on the thousands of taxpayers who consistently do the right thing. It is unfortunate that at this time the good taxpayers will suffer for those who have chosen to be criminals,” added Barfield. “This is the very reason why the Department of Revenue must do all that we can to safeguard our taxpayers against this type of fraudulent activity.”

Taxpayers who have concerns about the security of their personal information provided to any third party tax preparation software vendor should contact that vendor immediately.  Taxpayers who have a reason to believe they may be a victim of identity theft can contact LDR’s Criminal Investigations Division on its fraud hotline at 1-866-940-7053. They can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

LDR began accepting returns on January 20, and was originally scheduled to begin issuing returns on Tuesday, February 24. To date, the Department has received 664,956 electronic returns. On average, the Department processes 1.9 million electronic returns during the tax filing season. The backlog of refund requests received is expected to take a week to complete processing. Once the Department is current, normal processing times of 21 days for electronic returns and 10 weeks for paper returns can be expected.

Taxpayers can check the status of a refund by visiting www.revenue.louisiana.gov/refund.

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LDR Discovers Attempts to File Fraudulent Income Tax Returns through TurboTax software

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue has discovered a number of attempts to file fraudulent income tax returns for the 2014 filing season. LDR has reason to believe the fraudulent filings originated from data compromised through Intuit/Turbo Tax software. To our knowledge, all information in the State’s tax computer system remains secure and has not been compromised.

To date, LDR has flagged 2,011 returns filed through TurboTax software.  LDR is taking extra precautions to verify the filings and refunds to ensure that taxpayers receive their proper refunds. The Department is using all available technology and resources to help protect and secure all taxpayer data. When inconsistencies in returns are identified, LDR will utilize its identification verification process for individual taxpayers.

“It is our responsibility to protect the personal information of taxpayers, and we do not take that responsibility lightly” said Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield. “To our knowledge, our systems at the Louisiana Department of Revenue have not been compromised, but we want to alert all taxpayers who may have been victimized and had their personal information comprised by TurboTax, so they can take the steps needed to protect themselves. “

LDR has been in contact with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other states that have identified potential problems and will work with them and any other appropriate authorities to make certain Louisiana citizens are protected and apprised of the latest developments.

LDR began accepting returns on January 20, and began processing them on February 3. LDR is scheduled to begin issuing tax refunds around February 24. Since tax refunds have not been issued at this time, LDR is in an even better position to safeguard taxpayers against fraudulent activity, including the suspicion of identity theft, through the Department’s fraud detection systems.

“We will continue to monitor this situation closely, and will work diligently to ensure we do everything possible to protect taxpayer’s information and to ensure they receive the refunds they deserve,” said Barfield.

Taxpayers who have concerns about the security of their personal information provided to TurboTax should contact them at 1-800-944-8596.

Taxpayers may verify the current status of their state income tax return by going to www.revenue.lousiania.gov.

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Virginia man jailed in Louisiana for interstate tax fraud scheme

Charles Lawrence Fisher

Charles Lawrence Fisher

BATON ROUGE – A resident of Virginia faces felony charges in Louisiana for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in state income tax refunds.

Charles Lawrence Fisher, of Palmyra, VA, is accused of submitting Louisiana individual income tax returns in the names of two unsuspecting Louisiana residents and directing the refunds to a bank account in his own name.

In one case, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) processed the return and issued a refund in the amount of $2,123, which was deposited electronically into a checking account at a bank in Virginia.

In the second case, a refund of $2,697 was intercepted before being issued when LDR’s fraud detection protocols flagged the return as suspicious.

The subsequent investigation linked both fraudulent returns to Fisher.

Louisiana authorities transported Fisher to Baton Rouge on Friday where he was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of Injuring Public Records, Computer Fraud, Theft and Attempted Theft.

Fisher is the 40th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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Booking Photo: Charles Lawrence Fisher

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