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Tax Defense Network Rip-Off Report: Tampa Police & Identity Thieves

December 6, 2011

Tampa Police Detective Sal Augeri was among the officers who noticed the number of serious drug-related offenses had decreased to suspicious lows. He knew rip-off artists didn’t get honest jobs, they just moved on to new rip-off schemes, but he did not know what rip-off they moved on to. Detective Augeri observed Green Dot credit cards, used by the IRS for income tax refunds, were being used in large numbers among local known drug gangs. Shortly thereafter, identity rip-off reports began flooding Tampa police stations from local taxpayers who were being told their taxes had been filed, but claimed they never filed!

Identity Rip-Off Task Force Formed

The Tampa Police Department quickly allied itself with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to assess common traits in the identity rip-off reports they were receiving. The serious nature of tax fraud brought this rip-off to the attention of the United States Secret Service, the Florida State Licensed Tax Professional’s Office and the United States Licensed Tax Professional’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Before this rip-off task force was completed, even United States Postal Inspection Service investigators came aboard. The USPS was overseeing the mail fraud implications this rip-off brought to the table. The year-long investigation became known as Operation Rainmaker.

Identity Rip-Off Cyber Criminal Profile

The rip-off Operation Rainmaker investigation required monitoring tax websites, because on-line filing is a common ingredient in this rip-off. Tax Defense Network archives would have predicted a white collar criminal skilled in cyber crimes, yet Tampa police began to recall the unusual presence of laptops among local drug gang members. This tax rip-off turned out to be the scam of choice for the common Tampa drug dealer, though, Detective Augeri concluded “Anyone who uses a laptop can do it, but [this rip-off is usually conducted by] drug dealers.”

Rip-Off Loot Recovered

Operation Rainmaker uncovered evidence of around $100 million in stolen taxes, but only five million dollars of the rip-off gangs’ looted taxes and assets were recovered. Dozens of luxury vehicles and expensive jewelry purchased with stolen taxes were seized, and as expected, the rip-off villains were caught red-handed with tens of thousands of IRS refund cards. The cost of this lap top rip-off may have been as high as $130 million in tax fraud, resulting in a lost of $15 million a day from Tampa taxpayers to the rip-off gangs. Tampa Police Department Chief Jane Castor told the press “This kind of crime affects each one of us. My gut feeling is that this is happening throughout the United States.”

Tax Defense Network: Your Rip-Off Watchdog

Tax Defense Network defends you from identity rip-off artists by protecting your personal information with strict data security. We hold an “A-” rating with the Better Business Bureau, and have proudly provided needed tax relief to honest hardworking taxpayers for 15 years. If you are being pursued by the IRS for taxes you are sure you did not file, call Tax Defense Network for a free consultation!

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