On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Criminal Law and Fraud on Monday, December 3, 2012
As part of a federal investigation into identity theft, a woman who formerly lived in the St. Louis area has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to embezzle public money. The 27-year-old stands accused of serving as the ringleader of a group of individuals who allegedly stole identifying information from people who had recently died. Apparently, this information was used to file fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service, resulting in a total payout of nearly $1.5 million in tax returns.
Identity theft and embezzlement are both considered white collar crimes because the intent of a perpetrator is to deprive another person or an organization of something of value. Identity theft is often prosecuted as a federal crime because it usually involves taking information that has been issued to a person from a federal agency, such as a Social Security number. Similarly, embezzlement is often considered a federal offense because a U.S. government agency, such as the IRS or a federally-insured bank, has been defrauded.
Federal criminal charges are serious. If a defendant is convicted, they may face significant time in federal prison, hefty fines and monitoring of all their electronic communications. Federal courts are different from most state courts in that procedure tends to be stricter and more formal. A person facing federal charges can expect their case to be prosecuted against aggressively.
Anyone accused of a federal offense is entitled to the legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The right attorney will help a defendant weigh the strengths and weaknesses of their particular case, and will investigate whether the methods used by police and other authorities were constitutional.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Former St. Louisan accused of running $1.5 million tax scam,” Robert Patrick, Nov. 27, 2012