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The Web Takes on Tax Scams

To keep people from falling victim to tax frauds and scams, or at least to make it a little less common, the Internal Revenue Service has created a web site to better inform taxpayers of the pitfalls they need to avoid to save themselves from these situations. When it comes to dealing with money, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Even though many people are aware of this adage, they still fall victim to the methods of hundreds of scam artists that lay waiting for their money.

The website, which can be found at or in the “Tax Scams and Tax Fraud Alerts; IRS Criminal Investigation” section at, tries to help the individual better understand tax frauds by presenting real life cases. The thinking behind this is that the more people know about frauds and scams, the better they will be able to protect themselves from them. The site also explains the many forms these scams can take and insists that if people feel like something may be afoot, they should contact the IRS at 1-800-829-0433.

Tax frauds and scams are not an unusual occurrence, though they may result in lengthy sentences. Earlier this year, Dorothy Henderson was sentenced to 135 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release and a fine of $4,094.97 for presenting false client tax returns and defrauding the IRS. Her husband, who was also part of the scheme, was sentenced to a lesser term of 78 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release and a fine of $4,094.97. He received a shorter sentence because unlike his wife, he was not found guilty of perjury.

In October of last year, Glenn L. Rois and Faye S. Reinke were sentenced to 46 months in prison in addition to a six-month stay in a halfway house for misleading taxpayers in the sale and marketing of illegal trusts. In Rios’ case, he was also found guilty of sending false tax returns to the IRS.

The judge hearing the case of Lyle Hotchkiss decided to be a little creative in his sentencing by ordering Mr. Hotchkiss to take out a full-page advertisement in the Grand Rapids Press that explained Mr. Hotchkiss’ sentence of 27 months in prison and a $10,000 fine as well as a statement saying that he was wrong in what he did and that no one should do it again. Mr. Hotchkiss had made the mistake of not filing his federal income taxes and failing to report about $1.5 million in taxable income.