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IRS goes after Bay-area women for federal tax fraud

Uncle Sam has a precarious sense of humor. Rather than letting bygones be bygones, federal prosecutors have a tendency to prosecute what it perceives as crimes against the government very seriously. One of the most common federal crimes committed against the government involves tax fraud. Individuals facing federal accusations for tax fraud can face long prison sentences, huge financial penalties and much more.

Three Bay area women were indicted on federal charges for allegedly defrauding the IRS. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern California, a federal investigation revealed that the women filed false tax returns in order to obtain thousands of dollars in fraudulent refunds. Authorities say the women had the money deposited directly in debit card accounts, which they used to access the money or make purchases.

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the IRS, the women were charged in a 22-count federal indictment on August 20, 2013. The charges against the women include fraud, filing false claims and conspiracy to file false claims, theft of public money, aggravated identity theft and using an access device to make fraudulent transactions. Penalties range up to 20 years in prison on each count.

According to the IRS only a small number of tax crimes such as the ones described above occur in a given year. In many cases what may initially be perceived as fraud or criminal activity is actually the result of simple negligence or carelessness on the part of the filer. Distinguishing between intentional acts and less-intentional, or negligent acts, can be pivotal to beating a federal charge of income tax fraud or evasion.

Source: Berkeley Patch, "Berkeley Woman Indicted in Tax Fraud Case," Charles Burress, August 22, 2013