Wednesday, February 23, 2005
The closer it gets to April 15th, the more tax indictments there seem to be. One can only guess that it's the government reminder to file and also to include everything in the reporting. Some call this general deterrence.
But it seems that the individuals selected from prosecution are not always the classic citizen types. For example, Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the individual being indicted is a former employee of the Internal Revenue Service. According to the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, the AJC reports that the accused "accessed the accounts of more than 40 taxpayers and then sold the information to others so they could file fraudulent tax returns."
Interestingly this is not the first time that someone employed at the IRS is the subject of a criminal charge. In 1997 a "[c]ontract representative in the Boston office of the taxpayer Services Division of the" IRS was accused of accessing information from IRS computers and charged with mail, wire, and computer fraud. The conviction in the case was reversed when the First Circuit held that "mere browsing" in a government computer was not a basis for a "conviction on a 'deprivation of intangible property ' theory". (106 F.3d 1069 1st Cir. (1997)).
Other IRS defendants have not been as fortunate. For example, in United States v. Mangan, 575 F.2d 32 (2d Cir. 1978) a conviction of a former IRS agent was upheld for the submission of tax returns of fictitious individuals for the purpose of obtaining tax refunds on the filed returns.