The Justice Department’s Tax Division has released a directive to help law enforcement offices fight stolen identity refund fraud cases, DOJ announced this week.
The directive will allow certain prosecutors to charge by complaint criminals who are engaged in SIRF crimes and to obtain seizure warrants for forfeiture of criminally derived proceeds without prior authorization from the Tax Division
“Directive 144 and the new expedited review procedures are the result of a collaborative effort between the Tax Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to strengthen law enforcement’s response to stolen identity refund fraud crimes, which are an affront to all honest taxpayers,” said Tax Division Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally. “The prosecution of these crimes is a national priority, and we will continue to look for the most effective ways to bring this conduct to an end and to punish these wrongdoers.”
Stolen Identity Refund Fraud crimes involve filing or attempting to file fraudulent tax refund claims. As a result, tax dollars are paid out to the fraudsters. The Justice Department hopes the directive will facilitate expedited review procedures with the Internal Revenue Service in order to identify fraudulent tax refund claims before the refunds are sent to fraudsters, DOJ said.
“Streamlining the authority to prosecute Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) investigations is yet another step toward combating this fast growing crime,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Richard Weber. “We look forward to working with the United States Attorneys in aggressively tackling ID theft which has turned the lives of so many innocent taxpayers upside down when their identities have been stolen by thieves whose sole motivation is greed.”