Identity Theft Cases Down At IRS
Identity Theft Cases Down At IRS
The Internal Revenue Service says that it reduced identity theft related to fraudulent tax returns by nearly half since 2014. According to the agency, investigators prevented thieves from filing almost 1 million fake tax returns in the most recent tax year.

Agency records show that fraudulent filings peaked in 2014, when scammers successfully filed more than three-quarters of a million phony returns. The IRS now flags major discrepancies in taxpayer filings from year to year to help identify potentially fraudulent returns. Preparers must also do more to properly identify filers before submitting their returns. The agency also moved the deadline for employers to file wage data with the IRS. With more timely wage data in hand, the agency can spot problematic returns more easily.

Identity thieves favor the Earned Income Credit, so the agency made changes to its process for handling EIC claims. This year, filers claiming the EIC saw their refunds delayed until at least mid-February. The delay provided more time for the agency to identify both fraudulent filings and identity theft among low income wage earners. The agency also aims to prevent fraudulent filers from misappropriating a filer’s identity.

Ventura Identity Theft Lawyer


Identity theft is always taken seriously, but the federal government actively pursues people who file fraudulent tax returns. If you’re facing an identity theft prosecution, you need the assistance of an experienced identity theft attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense in Ventura County for more than 30 years. He knows what it takes to defend his clients successfully. If you’re facing criminal charges, make the right choice for yourself by hiring an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County identity theft case.

Photo Credit: Michael Seery, via FreeImages.com

Westlake Village Embezzlement Leads to 6-year sentence
Westlake Village Embezzlement Leads to 6-year sentence
Alanis Morrisette’s former business manager received a six-year federal sentence for embezzlement , wire fraud and tax crimes. Jonathan Schwartz, of Agoura Hills, stole nearly $5 million from the singer. He also stole more than $2 million from other clients of the GSO Business Management investment firm.

Morrisette was the only identified victim in the case. The firm represented other high profile clients, including Tom Petty, Katy Perry and 50 Cent. According to prosecutors, Schwartz began embezzling client funds in 2010, in part to pay for a gambling addiction, drugs and to fund a lavish lifestyle. As a partner in the firm, Schwartz earned a salary of $1.2 million.

A new financial manager that Morrisette hired discovered the scheme in 2014. While investigating the management of Morrisette’s funds, investigators also discovered losses in other client accounts. Schwartz made a great effort to disguise the losses in Morrisette’s account, which delayed the discovery of the scheme.

Federal judge Dolly Gee said that she believed Schwartz deserved a longer sentence, but federal guidelines called for a six-year term. She also ordered Schwartz to repay $8.6 million in restitution to his victims. Bernard Gudvi, who founded the investment firm, said that the firm expects to lose $20 million as the result of the scam, and that the firm laid off a dozen employees in the wake of the discovery. Schwartz’s actions also severely tarnished firm’s reputation.

Westlake Village Embezzlement Attorney


Embezzlement can be a devastating crime, both for the victim and the perpetrator. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced, aggressive embezzlement attorney when you’ve been accused of a workplace crime. Embezzlement victims are often angry, but at the end of the day, they want restitution over retribution.

An experienced criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend knows that a convicted defendant can’t make effective restitution unless he or she is working. Limiting a person’s ability to work limits their ability to provide restitution to the victims.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County embezzlement case.

Photo Credit: 401(k) 2012, via Flickr.com

Fraud Sentence for Oxnard Tax Preparer
Fraud Sentence for Oxnard Tax Preparer
A federal judge sentenced an Oxnard tax preparer and former teacher to prison for fraud. Rodrigo Lozano received a 10-year sentence for filing more than $56 million in fraudulent income tax returns.

Lozano, 61, of Oxnard applied for and received thousands of individual taxpayer identification numbers, which undocumented immigrants can use to file tax returns. Federal investigators say that Lozano filed more than 13,000 fraudulent tax returns over a two-year period beginning in 2011.

Lozano and other conspirators fabricated identification documents, which they used to request ITIN numbers. They combined the numbers with fictitious W-2 forms, and fabricated dependents to maximize child-related tax deductions.

The Internal Revenue Service flagged the documents as false, but Lozano ordered his employees to file the phony returns anyway. He operated out of a number of locations in Oxnard.

In addition to the prison sentence, the judge ordered Lozano to repay $23 million in fraudulent refunds.

Oxnard Fraud Lawyer


Federal charges of any kind are serious, and sentences can be very lengthy. If you’re facing federal fraud charges, your best defense strategy is to work with an experienced federal fraud lawyer. Robert Helfend has more than 30 years of courtroom defense experience. He takes state and federal fraud cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. He will take federal criminal defense cases in any federal circuit.

Don’t rely on inexperienced attorneys to defend you, especially in a federal courtroom. You need an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who knows what it takes to win in federal court. When your freedom is at stake, only the best criminal defense counsel will do.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura fraud/drug possession case.

Photo Credit: 401(k) 2012, via Flickr.com

Tax crimes charges for trucking company owners
Tax crimes charges for trucking company owners
Owners of a Long Beach-based trucking company have been arrested for tax crimes related to workers’ compensation fraud and payroll tax evasion. Authorities say that over the course of four years, Alvin and Fiona Chen, owners of Metro Worldwide, Inc., deliberately understated their payroll by nearly $5 million. The resulting fraud reduced the company’s liability for workers’ compensation insurance and employees’ payroll taxes. Investigators say the couple often paid employees in cash to avoid making tax and insurance payments.

An aggressive tax crimes attorney


Tax crimes are complex, largely because the tax code is complex. They’re also very common. At the federal level, you can be charged with failing to pay taxes, refusing to pay taxes, or hiding income to avoid paying taxes. Similarly, you can be charged at the state level. At the state level, tax fraud typically arises when business owners collect taxes from their employees, but fail to forward the money to the state. Equally, individuals and business owners who attempt to disguise the real source of their income, or misstate their income can also be charged with tax fraud.

If you’ve been arrested for tax fraud or tax evasion, tax crimes attorney Robert Helfend can help you prepare a strong criminal defense. Whether you’re facing tax evasion charges at the state level or the federal level, Mr. Helfend can help defend you against tax-related criminal charges.

With more than 30 years of experience, Mr. Helfend will work to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. You will always work directly with Mr. Helfend, because he handles each case personally. Work with a Los Angeles tax crimes attorney who will provide an aggressive and effective defense.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County tax crimes case.

Photo Credit: Dave Gostisha, via FreeImages.com