California readers know that just about the last thing a person wants is for a federal grand jury to hand down charges alleging tax fraud. These tax crimes allegations carry with them serious financial and criminal penalties that can lead to a substantial jail sentence in a federal penitentiary if a conviction should be obtained. Further, any defendants convicted will forever have a serious felony conviction on their record that may affect their ability to secure meaningful employment in the future.

Nine people are facing such charges currently as a federal grand jury issued an indictment alleging that they were involved in a tax fraud scheme. The indictment alleges that they stole people’s identification and used them to file false tax returns. The total refunds being claimed are believed to have exceeded $1 million.

Reportedly, the alleged scheme was not discovered until around $500,000 had already been paid out by the IRS. Five of the defendants were recently brought before a Florida federal judge. They were ordered to appear in another federal court in South Dakota, where the alleged scheme purportedly transpired.

When an arrest is made for tax crimes on a large number of people who are alleged to have been involved in the scheme, it can be difficult for federal prosecutors, in California or elsewhere, to sort out the evidence they have against each individual. Prosecutors have a heavy burden of proof that they must meet to secure a conviction which, if there is a lack of evidence pointing to certain individuals as being responsible, could cast serious doubt as to the validity of the charges. This doubt could result in a dismissal or a not-guilty verdict after trial.

Source: SFGate.com, “Tax fraud defendants include USD football players,” Nov. 16, 2012