Archive | Fraud

Grammy winner Lauryn Hill, celebrity tax evader, gets no love from the IRS

It’s pretty easy to skip filing a tax return. Even a second or third return. But sooner or later, the IRS has a habit of catching up with you. Especially if you’re a high-profile rich person, like hip-hop and R&B artist and eight-time Grammy winner Lauryn Hill.

Hill was sentenced to three months in prison and another three months of home confinement after failing to file tax returns in 2005, 2006 and 2007, as reported in the New York Times. She’s supposed to report to prison on July 8.

Her attorney said before the sentencing that Hill had paid more than $900,000 to settle her tax debts and penalties, according to the Huffington Post. Hill didn’t pony up until after federal judge Madeline Cox Arleo criticized her in court in Newark, saying, “This is not someone who stands before the court penniless. This is a criminal matter. Actions speak louder than words, and there has been no effort here to pay these taxes.”

Apparently the payment didn’t mollify Arleo, who obviously felt Hill deserved a little quiet time to think over her bad behavior.

Taxes promote creativity (otherwise known as “cheating”)

William Meyers, 66, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, took the time to file more than 70 fake excise tax returns. He’ll now have 366 days in prison (and three years of supervised release, and 100 hours of community service) to mull over the consequences.

Meyers was sentenced in U.S. District Court, and ordered to pay more than $873,000 in restitution, for filing the false returns.

Oh, he was also operating an illegal still. Busy guy. You can find the whole story here, compliments of The Oregonian.

$2 million tax refund equals 66 months in prison

She could have been Turbotax‘s Poster Child For Getting Your Maximum Refund–”I used Turbotax and got a $2.1 million refund!”

The only problem is that there wasn’t much truthful about the Oregon tax return filed by Krystle Marie Reyes of Salem once you got to the lines below her name and the address where you could send her seven-figure refund.

Reyes pleaded guilty July 24 and was sentenced to 66 months in prison for tax evasion and felony theft.

The sentencing closes a case featuring someone who in recent years earned less than $15,000 annually, yet was able to get a refund of more than $2 million on a Visa debit card by filing a return showing more than $3 million in income. After she got the refund, she then reported losing the debit card twice, which finally got the attention of card issuer Intuit. (Hey, let’s put another link to our good friends at Turbotax right here.)

What’s still open, however, is how a return with such eye-popping numbers made it through the Oregon Department of Revenue. As Michelle Cole of The Oregonian, who has been all over this story, reported, four employees with the department were either demoted or subject to “disciplinary action” following an internal investigation. Names of the state employees involved were shielded under the rubric of “personnel” matters, and apparently no one is getting fired after the biggest tax fraud in state history.