AG and LDR crack down on tax fraud
After seeing an increase in the number of tax preparers completing fraudulent returns, Louisiana Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield and the Louisiana Department of Revenue's Criminal Investigations Division are cracking down on such fraud. Since the renewed focus started earlier this year, investigators were ordered to target tax preparers who opened businesses only to illegally profit from the trust of taxpayers. Last week alone, six tax preparers were arrested on charges ranging from filing false public records to fraud. LDR has added two criminal investigators to the staff that are housed in the Louisiana Department of Justice. "This addition to our staff and our partnership with the attorney general's office has strengthened one of the core competencies of our department," LDR Secretary Tim Barfield says in a statement released this morning. "We are charged by the taxpayers of this state to protect their interests and focus on tax fraud and similar issues. The investment in these law enforcement personnel is already paying off." Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says the state will not tolerate fraud, "whether committed by pharmaceutical companies or by fraudulent tax return preparers who are stealing from their clients and from the state." Barry Kelly, director of LDR's criminal investigations division, plans to expand the scope of future probes. "There will be more arrests as we continue to aggressively move forward," Kelly says. "We hope to discover everyone who commits tax fraud—especially those who put themselves forward as servants of the public trust."
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