Tax Fraud Costs Violators Fancy Cars, Money And Prison Time

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(Memphis) It's that time of year again - time to file your income taxes.

However, with millions of dollars in refunds at stake, it's also prime time for thieves wanting to get their hands on some quick cash by committing fraud.

The U.S. Attorney is promising a crackdown.

Bryan Gardner is serving six-and-a-half years in prison.

His brother, Jeremy Lasane, is serving 12 years and he's also got to pay almost $800,000 in restitution.

They were convicted of income tax fraud and identity theft for ripping off social security numbers of innocent victims and filing false tax returns.

They are just two of the many white-collar criminals the U.S. Attorney's office is targeting this tax season.

"What we see a lot of is making false promises and saying we can get you a larger return than what's warranted. Often times we'll see individuals that will say we'll tie in our fees with your return, which is certainly a red flag," said U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton III, Western District.

Stanton says we all lose when this kind of crime is committed.

"We've seen individuals and organizations well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Stanton.

Ordinary people lose.

That's why Stanton says those who commit tax fraud most pay.

His office is also going after assets like a fancy Maserati and Mercedes-Benz that belonged to one of the brothers. Both set of wheels are now owned by the government.

"What we would say to those individuals and organizations is certainly you may get by in the short run but ultimately you won't get away," said Stanton.

Attorney Stanton says it's important to guard your social security numbers and remember if a tax preparer promises a return that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


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