Watchdog

Tax

Federal Court Halts Tax Fraud Scam in Missouri

The Justice Department announced this weel that a federal court has barred Janis E. Greehey, of Branson, Missouri, from selling the “corporation sole” and “claim of right” tax schemes. The order, entered by Judge Richard E. Dorr of the U.S.
A&A

IRS Warns: Don't Be Taken In By Tax Scams

The IRS reminds taxpayers not to fall victim to a variety of tax scams. These schemes take numerous shapes, ranging from promises of special tax refunds to illegal ways of “untaxing” yourself. Frequently, taxpayers are charged money for the incorrect advice by those promoting the scheme. If people think something may be unscrupulous, they can report suspected tax fraud to the IRS at 1-800-829-0433.The IRS urges people to avoid these common schemes:Return preparer fraudUnscrupulous return preparers can cause a lot of problems for taxpayers who use their services.
Tax

Miami Businessman Sues Bank of America in Online Banking Incident

Joe Lopez, a Miami businessman who regularly conducts business over the Internet, is suing Bank of America for negligence and failure to provide protection for online banking risks of which he claims the bank was aware. Last April, Mr. Lopez's computer system was hacked into and $90,348.65 was wired from his account at Bank of America to a bank in Riga, Latvia without his approval. Ralph Patino, Mr.
Tax

HealthSouth's Former President Indicted, Faces Financial Ruin, Jail Time

The former president and chief operating officer of HealthSouth Corp., James P. Bennett, was indicted on Thursday for his alleged part in a $2.7 billion accounting fraud that occurred from 1996 to 2002. HealthSouth was the country's largest operator of rehabilitation hospitals.Prosecutors have accused Mr.
Tax

WorldCom Settlement Rejected, Case Headed for Trial

In a surprise decision, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York ruled on Wednesday that a provision in the settlement agreement in the class-action case against WorldCom was illegal.
Tax

U.S. Attorney Charges Five with $30M 'Under-the-Table' Payroll Fraud

The Law News Network -- Five individuals have been charged in federal court with participating in a massive tax and insurance fraud scheme in connection with their operation of temporary employment agencies in Southeastern Massachusetts. They are accused of paying employees over $30 million in cash "under-the-table" in order to evade millions of dollars in payroll taxes and workers compensation premiums for their businesses. United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Joseph A. Galasso, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; Kenneth W.
Technology

Identity Theft More Prevalent Offline than Online

The 2005 Identity Fraud Survey Report - released by the Better Business Bureau and Javelin Strategy & Research as an update of the Federal Trade Commission's 2003 Identity Theft Survey Report and Javelin's 2003 Identity Theft Report - shows that despite growing fears about identity theft and online fraud, of the victims that know the identity and method used by the criminal, these crimes are more frequently committed offline than online. Internet-related fraud problems are actually less severe, less costly and not as widespread as previously thought.
Tax

AL Preparers Falsified Information To Increase Earned Income Tax Credit

The Justice Department announced late last week that it has asked a federal court in Montgomery, Alabama to bar Larry Baxter, his tax-return-preparation company, and a former employee from preparing federal income tax returns. According to the government’s complaint, Baxter, his company Baxter and Associates Office of Accountancy, P.C., and former employee Anita Dawkins claim inflated earned income tax credits on customers’ tax returns.
Tax

Get Ready, Get Set, Start Shredding

If fears of identity theft haven't sent you to the nearest office supply store to buy a shredder, a new law may be just the push you need.A law that goes into effect June 1 says that you must “destroy” personal information — shred it, burn it or pulverize it — of all people you employ, even if it's just one person and it's the gardener, USA Today reported.
Community News

Financial Services Sector Increasingly Targeted by Phishing Attacks

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) this week reported that the financial services sector peaked at 85% of all reported phishing attacks during December, a deepening concentration of a sector that ran usually between 70-80% of all reporting phishing attacks.
Tax

AICPA Addresses Fraud in Audit Committee Guidance

As part of its ongoing fraud-prevention program, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants today issued guidance to help U.S.
Tax

'Accounting Fraud' Penthouse Uncovered

Penthouse International Inc.
Tax

IRS Issues Guidance on New Penalties on Abusive Transactions

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today issued interim guidance on two new penalty provisions enacted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.The American Jobs Creation Act creates a new penalty for the failure to disclose information about “reportable transactions,” which are transactions that the Treasury Department and IRS have determined to be potentially abusive.
Tax

Justice Dept. Bars TN Woman From Preparing Tax Returns, Demands Client List

The Justice Department announced this week that a federal court has permanently barred Linda Hendrieth, of Memphis, Tennessee, from preparing income tax returns or claims for refunds. The final judgment, requires Hendrieth to notify her customers of the judgment and to provide to the government the names, addresses, and taxpayer identification numbers of her customers. "People who prepare false or fraudulent tax returns cheat their customers and unfairly shift the tax burden to honest American taxpayers," said Eileen J.
Tax

New McAfee Tool Helps Companies Spot Their Leaks

McAfee, Inc., announced this week that its leading security services group, Foundstone Professional Services, a division of McAfee, has released SiteDigger 2.0, a security tool designed to help companies identify information that has been made available on the Web.
Tax

Beware of Altered IRS Forms Used for Identity Theft

The use of fictitious Internal Revenue Service (IRS) correspondence has become a common means to trick individuals into disclosing personal and financial information. Unscrupulous individuals collect personal information for purposes such as raiding bank accounts, opening charge cards, acquiring cell phones, and unethically harming unsuspecting individuals. They become victims of identity fraud.
Tax

The Year Ahead, Revenue Growth and Managing Costs Top List of Concerns

What keeps financial executives up at night? Making sure their businesses are in the black. In a new nationwide survey, 34 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said their company’s top priority for 2005 is growing revenue. Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents said they anticipate employee healthcare plans to be the biggest cost increase over the next 12 months.The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S.
Tax

Enron Directors Agree to Pay Part of $168M Settlement

Ten ex-directors of Enron Corp. have agreed to pay $13 million of their own money as part of a $168 million settlement of a lawsuit filed by shareholders who lost their investments after Enron's 2001 implosion, according to the Wall Street Journal.The agreement, announced Friday, is similar to one reached by former directors of WorldCom Inc.
Tax

SEC Charges TV Azteca and Its Chairman Ricardo Salinas Pliego with Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission this week filed civil fraud charges against TV Azteca S.A. de C.V. (TV Azteca or the company), a Mexican issuer whose American depository receipts trade on the NYSE, its parent company, Azteca Holdings, S.A., de C.V. (Azteca Holdings), and three current and former TV Azteca officers and directors, Ricardo Salinas Pliego, Pedro Padilla Longoria, and Luis Echarte Fernandez.
Tax

Class Action Securities Fraud Lawsuits up in 2004

While the number of federal securities fraud class actions filed in 2004 increased only moderately from 2003 levels, rising to 212 companies sued from 181, the decline in stock market capitalization corresponding to these actions increased dramatically, according to a report released today by the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse in cooperation with Cornerstone Research.

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