Tag Archives: Fraud
Most frauds begin small. Something as simple as an employee forgetting a wallet one day and taking cash out of the register to buy lunch—fully intending to pay it back.
But then the rationalization begins: It was only five dollars or If they would have given me the raise I deserved, I would have used my own money.
Days go by and nothing happens. The employee recognizes the opportunity, and the fraud continues or escalates.
Studies find this scenario fairly typical. Fraud generally (continue reading…)
200,000 people feared dead, water and sewage systems destroyed, the port and other infrastructure damaged, a third of the buildings in the capital city demolished―all this and more from a 7.0 earthquake lasting just seconds.
Even before the quake, Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, was struggling to recover from damages caused by four successive hurricanes in 2008. Now, its current and anticipated future needs for assistance are massive.
Not surprisingly, the initial concern―and charitable impulse―was for saving lives and (continue reading…)
The statistics are sobering. Imagine simply throwing away seven percent of your organization’s annual revenue. According to a recent study conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, that’s the impact of occupational fraud on U.S. organizations―including public and private businesses, not-for-profit organizations and governmental entitiesorganizations. It translates to approximately $994 billion.
Perhaps surprisingly, fraud losses tend to be more significant for smaller businesses than for larger organizations. The median loss for all organizations in the study was $175,000―but for those with fewer (continue reading…)
“We made too many wrong mistakes,” to quote Yogi Berra.
He probably wasn’t speaking for the one-million-plus Americans who employ nannies, or the many more that hire other household help. But he could have been!
Estimates are that an extraordinary 80 or 90 percent of these employers do it wrong, including such well-known people as Timothy Geithner and Nancy Killefer.
Some fail to pay or withhold taxes, others run afoul of unemployment or insurance requirements, some even miss issues with an employee’s legal status. (continue reading…)
It’s like déjà vu all over again, to quote the inimitable Yogi Berra. It seems like every other week we’re earing about another financial scam purportedly involving the IRS. Phony emails designed to gather your personal financial information, look-alike websites―there is apparently no end to the creativity of these dedicated thieves.
Many of the latest scams involve phony economic stimulus payments or other tax refunds. According to the IRS, in May and June alone, taxpayers reported almost 700 separate phishing incidents. (continue reading…)
Apparently actor Nicolas Cage can’t, at least according to the IRS. Cage is accused of wrongly deducting more than three million dollars in personal expenses―including meals, gifts, travel, and even his private jet!
Some of Cage’s disputed deductions were claimed on his personal tax return, others on the return for his business, Saturn Productions. The IRS also considered the disallowed Saturn Productions deductions to be salary and dividends to Cage, and therefore taxable on his personal return.
All told, the IRS claims (continue reading…)
Apparently, even action star Wesley Snipes was taken in.
Last year, he was indicted on federal tax fraud charges that assert he falsely claimed $12 million in federal tax refunds and did not file a tax return for six years thereafter.
You might wonder how someone with his resources and access to advisors could wind up potentially owing tens of millions of dollars to the IRS and facing years in prison.
Evidently, he fell for what the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refers to (continue reading…)
I could so easily have fallen for it. My children advertised their rental property on the internet. They had a response from a young man in England who was coming to Seattle for a year of graduate work in chemistry. Thirty years old. Polite. Nonsmoker. Educated.
Everything sounded perfect, until he made a request that set off alarm bells.
Advance Fee Scams
I checked it out and ultimately uncovered what the FBI broadly refers to as an advance fee scam — one (continue reading…)
There’s something especially ugly about a financial scam that targets the elderly. Perhaps that’s why we tend to think it can’t happen to those we love.
Unfortunately, the statistics are not in our favor.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, each year more than five million senior citizens are victims of some form of financial exploitation.
They are disproportionately targeted for these scams. Although seniors account for roughly 12 percent of the U.S. population, they represent 35 percent of all fraud victims.
While (continue reading…)
I always thought it was an unwritten rule: The IRS never uses email to initiate a taxpayer communication. Never. And it doesn’t use email to request detailed personal information.
Nevertheless, just one week ago, I received an email from the IRS with an IRS logo, an IRS Notification subject line and an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apparently, there was a calculation error on my tax return and I’m eligible for a $63.80 tax refund.
What? Was I wrong about the email rule?
No, I (continue reading…)