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The IRS Criminal Investigation agency started a little over 100 years ago as an intelligence unit within the IRS, with nothing more than a few Post Office inspectors. Over the years, IRS-CI has become world-renowned for its ability to investigate abusive tax schemes, financial fraud, and many other crimes. With COVID-19 and PPP loans among the newest areas of focus, IRS-CI is heading into a new decade with even more to handle. What IRS Criminal Investigation is doing in 2021 Kelly is joined by Chief Jim Lee on this episode of the Taxgirl podcast. Chief Lee is the new head of the IRS Criminal Investigation agency, taking over for Don Fort. With a new chief, IRS-CI is not only continuing the good work they’ve done but focusing on some other areas in 2021. Listen to Kelly and Chief Jim Lee talk about IRS Criminal Investigation: What’s the goal of IRS-CI?Chief…

A woman who faked her resume for years in exchange for high-paying executive gigs is finally going to prison. That was the word out of the Department of Justice in a case that has all of the makings of a daytime television plot. Sonja Emery was known at various times as Sonja Lee Robinson, Sonjalee Emery-Robinson, and Sonjalee Emery while she resided in Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and California. According to court documents, from 2011 through 2018, Emery falsely represented her professional status, educational background, and work experience to secure and maintain highly paid consulting positions in the health-care industry. As part of the deception, she claimed to be a Registered Nurse licensed in New York, Georgia, Connecticut, and California: she was able to pull off the fraud by giving her employers license numbers that belonged to other people. Emery falsely represented to employers she had a Bachelor of…

On this day in 1931, Al Capone was found guilty of tax evasion. The gangster who had reportedly boasted, “They can’t collect legal taxes from illegal money” was sentenced to 11 years in prison for failing to file tax returns. Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1899, to Italian immigrants. His parents, Gabriele Capone and Teresa Raiola, found working-class jobs and settled into their new lives. Capone, however, had trouble fitting in and was expelled from school at age 14 for hitting a teacher. After he left school, Capone tried his hand at odd jobs, but nothing stuck. Capone eventually turned to a friend, Johnny “The Fox” Torrio, who was just getting started building an empire. Torrio would go on to be called “the father of American gangsterdom” by Elmer Irey, the first chief of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Enforcement Branch, now referred to as…

Together with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigations (CI) division announced what is being called the largest ever tax charge against an individual in the United States. Robert T. Brockman, a 79-year-old resident of Texas, and the chairman and CEO of The Reynolds and Reynolds Company, has been accused of hiding over $2 billion in income from the IRS over 20 years. Brockman was charged in a 39-count indictment that focuses on two separate pieces: The first set of charges focus on tax fraud, including tax evasion and failure to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs), for the tax years 2000 through and including 2018.The second set of charges is an investor fraud scheme involving manipulating debt securities. The charges include: conspiracy, tax evasion, wire fraud affecting a financial institution, concealment money laundering, tax evasion…

Some of the biggest crime cases in history involve financial disputes and tax evasion. Kelly introduces her favorite museum, The Mob Museum, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The museum focuses on mob crime history including the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago involving Al Capone. Capone refused to file a tax return claiming that “They can’t collect legal taxes from illegal money.” The Internal Revenue Service’s then-new crime fighting division (now, IRS-CI) was ordered to “Get Capone” – and they did. You’ll find the story, along with artifacts, in the Mob Museum. The museum also does a great job at showing both sides of criminal cases: the criminal side and law enforcement side. Tune into this week’s podcast with a special guest host to learn more about what the Mob Museum has to offer and the early days of IRS Criminal Investigations. The Mob Museum Geoff Schumacher, the Vice President of…

On September 23, 2018, police in York County, Pennsylvania, responded to reports of a shooting. When they arrived, they learned that a couple had been shot: Kimberly Forney was struck in her lower leg, and Matthew Forney had been hit twice in his upper chest. The culprit? The couple’s son-in-law, Robert Hedrick. Hedrick told police that he had been discussing his relationship with Morgan Forney, the couple’s daughter, when the argument turned physical. When Kimberly and Morgan attempted to intervene, a struggle ensued. At that point, Hedrick took possession of Kimberly’s handgun and fired several times, resulting in the injuries to Kimberly and Matthew. Yes, he shot his in-laws. Both of them. Assault Charges Dropped Hedrick was initially charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault and other charges. But in 2019, prosecutors dropped the charges. Hedrik’s attorney, Chuck Hobbs, told a local news outlet that’s likely because of a…

The feds have made another arrest tied to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud. This time, it’s an attorney facing charges. Jae H. Choi, who has an office in Fort Lee, New Jersey, has been accused of fraudulently obtaining nearly $9 million in PPP loans. Choi has been charged with three counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering. According to the complaint, Choi submitted three fraudulent PPP loan applications to three different lenders on behalf of three businesses that allegedly provided educational services. The Department of Justice did not release the names of the companies, but a LinkedIn profile that matches Choi’s educational and legal info tags him as the CEO of Homeschool Buyers Co-op and MathCloud. Choi allegedly falsely represented to lenders that the companies had hundreds of employees and paid over $3 million in monthly wages. To do this, he reportedly fabricated the existence of…

The Justice Department has announced action against two hacks of virtual currency exchanges by North Korean actors. According to court documents, the actors stole millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency and laundered the funds through Chinese over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency traders. Now, the Justice Department is seeking to recover those funds through the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint. (You can test your knowledge of civil forfeiture here.) The complaint follows criminal and civil actions announced earlier this year related to the theft of cryptocurrency through other exchange hacks by North Korean actors. Those thefts initially occurred in 2018; afterward, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Cyber Crimes Unit learned that a South Korea-based virtual currency exchange had been hacked. The North Korean cyber actors responsible for the hack stole nearly $250 million worth of virtual currencies, which eventually landed in about 146 virtual currency accounts. In March of 2020, the…

Did you know that the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) is the only federal agency that devotes 100% of resources to investigating financial crimes? IRS-CI is also the only agency with jurisdiction over federal tax crimes. You can test how much you know about the agency here: [forminator_quiz id=”53599″] How’d you do? For more on IRS-CI, you can click here for the podcast episode listing, or listen to my interview with Chief Fort below:

The Justice Department has announced the dismantling of three terrorist financing cyber-enabled campaigns. These actions represent the government’s largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency relating to terrorism. These three terror finance campaigns – involving the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) – all relied on sophisticated cyber-tools, including the solicitation of cryptocurrency donations from around the world. Each group used cryptocurrency and social media to garner attention and raise funds for their terror campaigns. Using warrants, federal authorities seized millions of dollars, over 300 cryptocurrency accounts, four websites, and four Facebook pages related to the criminal enterprise. “These important cases reflect the resolve of the DC. United States Attorney’s Office to target and dismantle these sophisticated cyber-terrorism and money laundering actors across the globe,” stated Acting United States Attorney Michael R. Sherwin. “While these individuals believe they operate anonymously in the digital space, we…

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