Tax fraud not as easy to see on Tampa streets - WNEM TV 5

Tax fraud not as easy to see on Tampa streets

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The tax refund fraud crime was rampant on Tampa streets a few years ago has quieted in the new filing season, though law enforcement says it is still fighting the fraudsters looking to steal identities and file fake tax returns.

"I think that the trend is down," said Jim Robnett, special agent in charge of IRS Criminal investigations in the Tampa area.

However, Robnett says the nearly two dozen agents working in the Bay area spent about 90 percent of their time working identity theft and tax refund fraud cases.

Robnett said that while fraudsters will continue to steal identities, the "success rate for filing false tax returns is much less than it was before."

Investigators say criminals still active in the crime appear to be less open about their actions and their new found wealth than they were just a few years ago when they drove high-end vehicles with fancy rims and bragged about their successes online.

Law enforcement officers also credit increased IRS filters, the arrests and convictions of some high-profile tax fraud players and a new Florida law in helping discourage the crime.

The new law, which went into effect last fall, makes it illegal to possess other people's identities (potentially a name, social security number and date of birth) without their permission. Previously, officers would have to prove someone's ill intent in using that information, which could involve a lengthy investigation.


  • NewsMore>>

  • Prizefighter Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    Prizefighter Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter dies at 76

    Sunday, April 20 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-04-20 21:33:32 GMT
    Former midddleweight boxer Rubin Carter has died. (Source: Flickr) Former midddleweight boxer Rubin Carter has died. (Source: Flickr)
    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.More >
    By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter never surrendered hope of regaining his freedom, not even after he was convicted of a triple murder, then convicted again and abandoned by many...More >
  • In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

    In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

    Sunday, April 20 2014 5:32 PM EDT2014-04-20 21:32:59 GMT
    Tens of thousands gathered for a weekend of Colorado cannabis-themed festivals and entertainment. (Source: MGN) Tens of thousands gathered for a weekend of Colorado cannabis-themed festivals and entertainment. (Source: MGN)
    The 4/20 stoner holiday is going mainstream in Colorado.More >
    Denver police say they have issued 28 citations for public consumption of marijuana and arrested one person accused of attempting to distribute the drug so far this weekend as revelers celebrate the traditional pot holiday...More >
  • Clearwater man arrested for fatally shooting girlfriend

    Clearwater man arrested for fatally shooting girlfriend

    Sunday, April 20 2014 4:55 PM EDT2014-04-20 20:55:51 GMT
    Police say the shooting occurred at this home at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday.Police say the shooting occurred at this home at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday.
    A Clearwater man has been charged with second-degree murder in the early morning shooting death of his girlfriend. Alexander Richardson, 24, of 2368 Hillcreek Circle E., was booked Sunday afternoon in the Pinellas County Jail in connection with the death of Josephine Nicole Austria, 51.
    More >
    A Clearwater man has been charged with second-degree murder in the early morning shooting death of his girlfriend. Alexander Richardson, 24, of 2368 Hillcreek Circle E., was booked Sunday afternoon in the Pinellas County Jail in connection with the death of Josephine Nicole Austria, 51.

    More >
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow
WNEM
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WNEM; Saginaw, MI. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.