Failure to Follow State or IRS Guidelines Results in Charge
Tax evasion and tax fraud are very closely related crimes. For either one of these offenses, you may be charged by either the state government, for failing to follow the guidelines of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR), or by the federal government, for failing to follow the guidelines of the IRS. Obviously, if you are accused of evading state taxes, this will lead to a Louisiana tax evasion charge, while if you are accused of evading federal taxes you will be charged with a federal crime. Frequently, however, a person accused of Louisiana tax fraud or evasion may have committed a similar error or fraud on their federal tax returns, leading to the possibility of a federal tax charge as well.
Difference Between Louisiana Tax Fraud and Tax Evasion Charges
According to the Louisiana Department of Revenue, “Fraud is a deception deliberately practiced to secure unfair or unlawful gain. Another definition is the intentional misrepresentation of truth in order to obtain something of value by inducing another to rely upon false information.” A wide variety of offenses are included in the LDR’s definition of tax fraud, including:
- Intentionally failing to file a tax return
- Submitting fraudulent returns
- Lying on tax forms to understate income or overstate business expenses
- Selling cigarettes, alcohol, or other items without the proper excise tax added
- Operating a business unregistered with the LDR
- Other personal and/or business offenses
The criteria for a charge of tax evasion are difficult to distinguish from those for tax fraud. In Louisiana, you will be charged with tax evasion if you can be accused of using deception or deceit to somehow circumvent the laws and avoid your tax burden.
These are state felony charges. If you have been charged with one of these crimes, or believe you are under investigation, please retain a defense attorney as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance to remain free.
Federal Tax Fraud, Law and Sentences
The federal law for tax fraud comes from the US Code for the Internal Revenue Service. 26 USC § 7201 reads:
Any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $100,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.
As you can see, a conviction for federal tax fraud comes with a very steep price. What’s more, if you are a high-profile business owner or public figure, these types of charges can do enormous damage to your reputation, even if you are never convicted. At Bloom Legal, we will work to minimize your exposure through the media, so that both your freedom and your reputation are preserved.
You should not be charged with tax fraud or evasion unless the offense was willfully committed. In other words, if the alleged fraud was actually the result of an honest mistake or occurred because of the malpractice of dishonest financial consultants, you should not be charged with fraud or evasion at either the state or federal level. If this is the case, Bloom Legal will negotiate with investigators and prosecutors to prove your point and have the charges dropped. You should note that you may still have to pay back taxes or fines as a result of the mistake, but you should not have to face the criminal proceedings or penalties.
Wire fraud is a federal crime. Louisiana state law enforcement officials investigate and prosecute other types of fraud, such as computer fraud or credit card fraud. But if the alleged fraud involves the use of wire, radio, or television, you will be charged by federal prosecutors using federal sentencing guidelines.
If you are under investigation for have been charged with federal wire fraud, you need an aggressive, dedicated criminal defense attorney who will work to protect your freedom and your rights.
According to federal law, 18 U.S.C. 1343. (“Fraud by Wire, Radio, or Television”), wire fraud is the act of “transmitting or causing to be transmitted” any communication by wire, radio, or television that is intended to defraud or to obtain money by fraudulent practices. The prosecution of this law frequently focuses on radio or television commercials for businesses or operations that federal officials deem to be fraudulent, but can apply to other transmissions affecting a great number of people.
If convicted of wire fraud, you may face a fine or up to five years in prison for your federal felony conviction. However, if the wire fraud affects a financial institution, you may be fined up to $1 million dollars and/or jailed for up to 30 years.
While wire fraud is prosecuted under federal law, the actions for which you are being charged may have some overlap with other types of Louisiana fraud. Because the federal law is sufficiently vague and because there is the possibility of overlap with state laws, you need a lawyer who will help explain to you how the various laws affect your case. In defending your case, the fraud defense team at Bloom Legal will:
- Explain how the law applies to you
- Examine the prosecution’s evidence to determine if they have enough to continue with the wire fraud charge
- Negotiate with prosecutors to have the charges reduced or dropped
- Negotiate to have the sentence reduced
- Try the case, if necessary
Louisiana White Collar Crime Defense Attorneys
If you are in Louisiana and believe you might be under investigation for wire fraud or have already been charged for it, you need New Orleans’ Bloom Legal. Centrally located in the heart of downtown New Orleans, Bloom Legal is ideally situated to defend you throughout your wire fraud case. We have the skill and the resources needed to defend clients in fraud cases across the New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner metropolitan area, including:
- All of Orleans Parish
- Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, and the rest of Jefferson Parish
- Chalmette and St. Bernard Parish
- LaPlace and St. John the Baptist Parish
- Des Allemands, Hahnville, Destrehan, and the rest of St. Charles Parish
- Belle Chasse and Plaquemines Parish
As with most white collar and financial crimes, the best defense for wire fraud is an early one. If you retain the aggressive criminal defense team at Bloom Legal as soon as you begin to believe that you are under investigation, you will dramatically increase your chances of having the investigation ended, your charges dropped, and your freedom protected. Take active steps to protect yourself in your fraud case. Call Bloom Legal today at 504.599.9997 to schedule a consultation with a wire fraud defense attorney.
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Posted by: Zachary Klos