U.S. Attorney: fraud cases caused 'seismic change' - WRBL

U.S. Attorney: fraud cases caused 'seismic change'

Posted: Updated:
Robert E. O'Neill Robert E. O'Neill

The federal government has undergone a "seismic change" in dealing with the kind of tax refund fraud cases that have plagued the Bay area, according to the U.S. Attorney for Middle District of Florida.

"There's no question when we first started this, a lot of people either didn't know this was occurring, or if they knew, they didn't see it on the grand scale that we all did see it at the beginning," U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill, whose district stretches north to Jacksonville and south to Fort Myers, said in an interview Tuesday.

O'Neill said federal authorities are working faster to prosecute cases in which suspects use stolen identities to file fake tax returns, prompting the government to send them refunds of thousands of dollars.

"The typical tax case went on for years and years," he said. "And we've argued this is not a tax case, this is an identity fraud type case."

O'Neill said media coverage, including reports by News Channel 8, combined with efforts by the Tampa Police Department helped bring attention to the crime and prompt the changes.

Law enforcement working together as part of the "Alliance" with the Internal Revenue service are generating a steady flow of cases that are coming in more quickly than before, he said. He expects to see about 100 prosecutions this year.

"I hope at some point that can sort of stop because the IRS will have figured out how to prevent this from occurring, and then we can go back and focus on other types of cases," O'Neill said. "But in the interim period, we still need to prosecute as many cases as possible to deter others from doing it."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:58 GMT
    This Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in PinellasThis Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in Pinellas
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
  • RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:45:14 GMT
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
  • How thieves clone your credit cards

    How thieves clone your credit cards

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:15:02 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
    Patricia Stack didn't know her debit card number had been stolen until she tried to withdraw money from her bank account. "A couple weeks ago I tried to get money out to pay my power bill and there was nothing in it."
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.