Alabama Woman Gets Six Years for Filing False Federal Tax Returns

Filing false federal tax returns is the same as stealing money from the federal treasury. As a tax preparer, this woman in Alabama did just that.

An Alabama woman was sentenced to 72 months in prison for filing false federal tax returns.

Laquanda Gilmore Garrott, 39, of Montgomery, Alabama, was also ordered to pay $56,897.00 in restitution.

Filing False Federal Tax Returns

According to trial evidence, Garrott operated a tax preparation business. The government proved that Garrott knowingly put false information on multiple tax returns in order to increase refunds for clients, which also increased her own tax preparation fees.

In one case, Garrott falsely claimed that a client lost more than $30,000 on a lawn care company even though she knew her client had no such business. By including the false business losses, Garrott was able to offset the client’s taxable income and make the client eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

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The Stance of the IRS

“Ms. Garrott stole money from the federal treasury when she filed false federal income tax returns, a crime that affects all of us,” U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. said in a statement.

©2019

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Florida Man Sentenced To Nine Months In Prison For Tax Evasion

This real estate investor has been found guilty of tax evasion after having failed to report more than $1 million in taxable income.

A Florida man was sentenced in Connecticut to nine months in prison for tax evasion.

According to court records, Anthony A. Valentino, of Palm City, Florida, is a real estate investor who owns property in Connecticut and New York, including a 100-unit apartment complex in Naugatuck, Connecticut.

What Led to the Tax Evasion

From 2011 to 2013, Valentino deposited more than $1.1 million of rental receipts, paid in cash or checks, into his personal bank accounts in Connecticut and New York and failed to report the receipts on his personal and partnership federal tax returns.

For the 2011 through 2013 tax years, Valentino failed to report more than $1 million in taxable income on his tax returns, and only reported $42,815 in taxable income. As a result, he evaded payment of $302,449 in income taxes.

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Other Illegal Practices Involved

The government’s investigation also revealed that, in 2013, Valentino made or caused to be made 27 cash deposits totaling $247,100. Many of the deposits, which ranged in amounts from $7,000 to $9,900, were made on the same day at different times, or on consecutive days — an illegal process known as “structuring” that is intended to avoid currency transaction reports.

Valentino pleaded guilty to tax evasion. He has paid $302,339 in restitution but still owes approximately $333,000 in tax penalties and interest. He also has forfeited $100,000.

©2019

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9 Important Things to Know About Blockchain

Blockchain is to bitcoin what the Internet is to e-mail. Even if you’re not ready to use digital currency, you can benefit from understanding this new technology.

Technology is changing at such a fast pace that it can be difficult to keep track of everything in the news. Some of those technologies will survive, others will be reconfigured and still others will fail.

Some Background On Blockchain

Blockchain is one technology that will continue to thrive. It has been around since 2008, when it was first introduced along with bitcoin, a digital currency (aka a cryptocurrency).

Despite some glitches along the way, both blockchain and bitcoin have flourished since they were first introduced, and both have become relevant to many industries, including health care, insurance and transportation.

Unlike Bitcoin, however, which has been joined by a number of other alternative currencies, blockchain remains the main underpinning of all of them as well as of other applications.

How Blockchain Works

At a time in which data management and security has become a primary concern of all business sectors, blockchain has emerged as a safe way to digitally record and memorialize financial transactions without needing centralized third-party authentication.

Bitcoin still is the leading digital currency. Like the paper money and coins, bitcoin’s value stems from the fact that it can be used to buy goods and services. Bitcoin (or any other digital currency) and blockchain work together. Here are nine things you need to know:

  1. A digital file called a “ledger” is used to keep track of your bitcoin.
  2. Your ledger is distributed across a network of private computers (called “nodes”).
  3. Every time you initiate a transaction, every node in the network is notified so it can update the balance in your ledger using your public key.
  4. Blockchain does not keep track of your balance; it only tracks the transactions you make.
  5. Your bitcoins are kept in a “wallet” that is encrypted with a specific public key as well as an encrypted private key. Only you can use your private key to encrypt and decrypt your transactions.
  6. You can have as many wallets as you wish. Each has its own private and public keys.
  7. Every time you use your private key you generate a digital signature, and blockchain uses that signature to verify your transaction. This signature changes every time you initiate or change a transaction. This makes it impossible to change a recorded transaction.
  8. Transactions are grouped into blocks. Each block contains a set number of transactions and a link to the previous block.
  9. The blocks are organized in a time-related chain and connected through cryptography that relies on special mathematical functions and codes. Every transaction in each unique block is considered to have happened at the same time.

Benefits Of Blockchain

Blockchain has many benefits, including the following:

  • Value (bitcoin or another cryptocurrency) can be transferred within a few minutes and secure within a few hours.
  • Transactions are transparent because anyone can verify any transaction at any time by following its trail along the blockchain.
  • Transactions are private: only you have the private key to your wallet.

Also consider the following:

  • No centralized entity oversees the transactions, so there is no help desk to call if you need help. You alone control your account. Transactions are not secured by an entity like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. If something goes wrong and your digital currency is somehow diverted from your account, you have no recourse.
  • The value of bitcoin and other digital currencies is volatile. Their value isn’t controlled by an entity like the Federal Reserve or the World Bank, which means their value is not as stable as traditional currency.

The growth and evolution of blockchain technology over the past 11 years or so is impressive. To discuss how it may continue to evolve, contact us today.

©2019

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3 Proven Ways Crypto Traders can Avoid IRS Problems and Slash Their Taxes

Despite what you may have been hearing, or experiencing, crypto traders can avoid IRS problems. Ideally, you also want to slash your taxes. And you want to achieve both for good reasons. The good news is, it’s possible with these three proven ways.

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