Orlando Tax Fraud Attorney
In the past ten years, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service have significantly increased their efforts to investigate all white-collar crimes, including tax evasion and tax fraud. Government attorneys have also been prosecuting them more aggressively, seizing assets and seeking lengthy prison sentences in cases where they find criminal intent to defraud the U.S. Treasury.
If you’re being audited or investigated for a tax crime, it is, therefore, crucial to get help as soon as possible from an experienced federal defense attorney with expertise in federal financial crimes. Considering the fact that penalties include asset forfeiture, huge criminal fines, and up to five years in prison, you don’t want to delay getting advice from a defense attorney who has worked with federal law enforcement agents and can intervene effectively on your behalf.
Tax Fraud and Related Charges
When individuals or businesses intentionally underpay or do not pay their taxes, the federal government may charge them with tax fraud. Although they can pursue these cases civilly or criminally, federal prosecutors are increasingly filing criminal charges under federal statutes, including:
- Tax Evasion [26 U.S.C. § 7201] – the act of underreporting income on your tax return with the intent of evading payment of taxes to the government.
- False Statements on Income Tax Returns[26 U.S.C. § 7206(1)] – the act of knowingly and willfully signing and submitting a tax return that contains material false statements made to intentionally violate a legal duty.
- Aiding or Assisting in the Preparation of False Documents Under Internal Revenue Laws[26 U.S.C. § 7206(2)] – the act of knowingly and willfully assisting in the preparation of a tax return that contains material false statements made intentionally to violate a known legal duty.
- Conspiracy[18 U.S.C. § 371] – the act of willfully agreeing with at least one other person to commit an offense against or to defraud the United States (e.g., to make false statements on an income tax return) and you or a co-conspirator having taken at least one overt action toward enacting the conspiracy.
Defending against Tax Fraud
In tax fraud cases, the prosecution must meet a high standard for intent to defraud. The best defense strategy may, therefore, be a strong pre-indictment argument against the government’s allegations. For example, during the tax fraud investigation, we may be able to show that the government’s calculations of your income are incorrect, that the deductions you took were allowable, or that you made a mistake on a tax document and did not intend to defraud the government. In cases such as these, criminal charges may not ever be filed.
In tax fraud cases, the government must also prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If any single element of the crime is not supported by the evidence, the entire charge is dropped. An effective defense strategy may then be to show the flaws and gaps in the prosecution’s evidence. If the case goes to trial, we can use this defense to undermine the government’s case while also holding the prosecution accountable for proving criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt.
Another possible defense may be to show that you relied on a qualified tax preparer. This would be an affirmative defense that could work in your favor even if all other elements of the crime were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you are indicted for tax fraud and have to go to trial, you need an attorney with federal court trial experience, especially in white-collar crimes. Attorney Dan Eckhart has the experience, knowledge, and skills you need to develop a strong, strategic defense to protect your rights and your freedom.
Penalties for Tax Fraud
Penalties for tax fraud can be very harsh, with civil penalties, including stiff fines and repayment of the prosecutorial expenses, and criminal penalties usually involving large fines, repayment of the costs of prosecution, and time in a federal penitentiary.
Tax Evasion – The punishment for tax evasion can include a fine up to $100,000 for individuals and $500,00 for corporations, repayment of the costs of prosecution, and up to five years in prison.
False Statements on Income Tax Returns – The punishment for making false statements on an income tax return can include up to a $100,000 fine for individuals and up to a $500,000 fine for corporations, repayment of the prosecution costs, and up to three years in prison.
Aiding or Assisting in the Preparation of False Documents – The punishment for assisting in the preparation of false tax documents can include up to a $100,000 fine for individuals and up to a $500,000 fine for corporations, repayment of the prosecution costs, and up to three years in prison.
Conspiracy – The punishment for conspiracy to commit tax fraud is up to five years in prison and/or criminal fines.
Fight Tax Fraud Charges with a Respected Orlando Defense Attorney Experienced in Handling Federal Financial Criminal Cases
Tax crimes are generally investigated by federal agents and prosecuted in the federal court system by Assistant United States Attorneys, so choosing an attorney familiar with federal financial criminal laws and procedures is very important. A well-meaning defense attorney with experience only in state court may not be familiar enough with federal processes to advocate successfully on your behalf.
Attorney Dan Eckhart has the experience, knowledge, and skills needed to defend you throughout the federal investigation and prosecution processes. During his tenure as a federal agent and prosecutor, Attorney Dan Eckhart worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Secret Service, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture/Money Laundering units, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network on prosecuting financial crimes.
His extensive experience dealing with these crimes as a federal agent and as a federal prosecutor can make a significant difference when it comes to developing a strategy that will resolve your tax issues before criminal charges are filed or, if necessary, in building a strong defense to protect your rights and your freedom at trial.
Call Dan Eckhart at 407-276-0500 or use the “Tell Us What Happened” form on this webpage to discuss your tax issues and get started on your defense.