The Internal Revenue Service has released its Criminal Investigation (CI) Annual Report for fiscal year 2013, reflecting significant increases in enforcement actions against tax criminals and a robust rise in convictions, including identity theft.
CI investigates potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner to foster confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law.
High points of fiscal year 2013 include a 12.5 percent increase in investigations initiated compared to the prior year and a nearly 18 percent gain in prosecution recommendations. Specifically, CI initiated 5,314 cases and recommended 4,364 cases for prosecution. These increases were accomplished at a time when agent resources decreased more than 5 percent.
Meanwhile, convictions rose more than 25 percent compared to the prior year. The conviction rate for fiscal 2013 was 93 percent.
“The conviction rate is especially important because it reflects the quality of our case work, our teamwork with law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and it represents an increase over 2011 and 2012,” said Richard Weber, Chief of Criminal Investigation.
CI continues to play a vital role in the fight against identity theft. CI initiated over 1,400 investigations and recommended prosecution of over 1,250 individuals who were involved in identity theft crimes during fiscal 2013.
As an active partner in over 35 Identity Theft Task Forces, CI works side-by-side with federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies to combat the threat of this insidious crime. One of those task forces, the Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance, was recently recognized as the "2013 Task Force of the Year," a national award given by the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators for investigative excellence and outstanding public service. The Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance was formed last year and comprises of 20 Tampa Bay federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.
“The Alliance represents true teamwork by all levels of law enforcement,” Weber said. “Individuals who commit identity theft demonstrate a blatant disregard of the integrity of the United States tax system and cause immeasurable hardship to innocent victims.”
In addition, the 36-page report summarizes a wide variety of IRS CI activity on a range of tax crimes, money laundering, public corruption, terrorist financing and narcotics trafficking financial crimes during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013.
“Our cases involved individuals and corporations from all segments of society. They led us into corporate board rooms, offices of public officials, tax preparation businesses, identity theft gangs and narcotics trafficking organizations,” Weber said.
"This report highlights some of the many noteworthy cases that were completed by CI, which is just the tip of the iceberg of the complex cases we completed this past year,” Weber added. “The dedication and enthusiasm of our employees was a driving force behind these achievements. IRS-CI continues to make our mark in history as the best financial investigators in the world."