Tax fraud is more common than many Americans realize. When advised of tax fraud, the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) is on it in a big way.
How many people do you know who have dreamt, and maybe even tried, to rip the government off when it comes
to filing taxes or for performing work they did not perform? Stories abound about it. Movies are made featuring
big wheels with lots of money, trying to hide it “somehow”.
Lately, the “somehow”, is to attempt to defraud the federal government by helping other commit tax evasion
and committing other forms of fraud, such as Medicare overbilling, by using the wrong codes, or performing
unnecessary procedures, or billing for procedures not performed. The possibilities for ripping the federal
government off are legion, and whistleblowers have many an opportunity to blow.
Call it under reporting, or fiddling with the numbers, or an indirect fabrication about the facts, but the fact is, fraud
is alive and well, and living in the U.S. As Cleveland, Ohio whistleblower attorneys, we are seeing an increase in
cases such as this.
Sometimes perpetrators get away with it, for a period of time, and then, the government catches up with them.
Consider the latest story to hit the media; a record breaking $104 million award to an IRS informant. There is more
to this story, but the salient point is the informant was a former banker, who revealed a scheme commonly used
by banks, which helped clients to evade paying taxes.
The former banker, now a convicted felon, was paid one of the largest rewards in history by the IRS for his
information. The tax cheat facilitator turned himself in, offering information to prosecute himself, and his now
former client. On prosecution, the IRS and their attorneys acknowledged they could not have succeeded without
his information and cooperation. Said banker ratted on a tax cheat he was helping, went to jail and will come
out 40-months later a millionaire. Indeed, truth is stranger than fiction. Not all cases are like this one. This is an
exception to the usual rule of thumb.
Can anyone turn in a tax cheat or reveal a scheme to defraud the government? Yes, however there are some
rules and regulations you need to know about. Documentation of the scheme is king, as is confidentiality. The
whistleblower program has been revamped and there are several criteria: the large awards program and the not so
large awards program, with the distinction being the percentage of reward an informant may garner later.
The large awards program is applicable when taxes, penalties and interest on a fraud case are in excess of $2
million or, if the taxpayer is an individual whose gross income is in excess of $200,000. Under this program, the
award percentages run from 15 percent to 30 percent of what is ultimately collected after prosecution. The not so
large awards program is for those who do not qualify under the large awards program, and offers 15 percent of the
actual collected proceeds.
You definitely need expert legal assistance from a Cleveland, Ohio whistleblower attorney, to file a whistleblower’s
case. This is because the IRS wants any submissions to make sense, come complete with legal evidence and an
attorney’s memorandum spelling out the law. If it is easy for them to pick up the complaint and run with it, the
chances are higher it will be pursued to conclusion.
Keep in mind whistleblower cases are not about keeping things short, sweet and simple. They typically are lengthy
matters: however, new rules have been passed to expedite the process in certain cases. Your attorney will explain
Tom Robenalt is a Cleveland, Ohio whistleblower attorney To learn more, visit Christophermellino.com.