The IRS is conducting criminal investigations into crimes related to COVID 19

The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division recognizes the one-year anniversary of the federal CARES Act by renewing its efforts to find and prosecute those who took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Plan.

IRS Criminal Investigations Special Agent in the Denver office, Andy Tsui, described the focus of the ongoing investigations.

“Some people and/or their businesses are applying for these loans that are meant to help small businesses and individuals get through some of the difficult financial challenges that everyone is going through right now,” Tsui said. But the egregious offenders we see are applying for these loans. , getting these loans out for quite large amounts, sometimes you know, 50,100,000 or more, and then going back and using that money for personal expenses like buying fancy cars, boats and that sort of thing.

Tsui said a lot of their advice came from the general public.

“We are very involved in a COVID fraud task force that is led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and involves multiple federal, state and local agencies,” he said. “Leads come from many different areas, including the general public. We see quite a bit of it coming directly from the public, who may have witnessed or been aware of some sort of fraud going on. There are many different sources and we certainly appreciate the public’s interest in reporting these types of frauds.

Tsui pointed out that defrauding the IRS is a federal crime.

“These are actually federal criminal offenses that we seek to prosecute in federal court,” he said. “Of course, we are hoping for significant penalties because anyone who abuses these systems should be held accountable.”

Tsui said individuals and businesses should take advantage of Paycheck Protection Plan loans, but be on the lookout for fraud.

“If a business needs one of these loans and qualifies, definitely apply for it,” he said. “If there is any suspicion that someone has used their identity or committed fraud related to their business identity, then definitely report it. “We certainly take them very seriously and will investigate them as a matter of priority. “

To report a suspected tax crime, visit this website.

READ MORE: Here’s how to apply for rent relief

Mark M. Gagnon