IRS Lists Top 10 Criminal Tax Investigations in 2021

The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigative Service (IRS-CI) recently listed the top ten high profile and personal cases they investigated during 2021.

The IRS-CI is the criminal investigation arm of the IRS responsible for conducting investigations into financial crimes such as tax fraud, money laundering, and public corruption. IRS-CI Special Agents are the only federal law enforcement personnel with the authority to investigate violations of the Internal Revenue Code, and they boast a federal conviction rate close to 90%.

Business owners beware!

The list is an interesting read for small business owners who can learn about the many dangers of trying to cut corners or avoid paying government taxes. Take, for example, an Ontario man who was running an unlicensed business exchanging millions of dollars for bitcoin and cash. Being unlicensed meant that Hugo Sergio Mejia attracted business from the likes of drug dealers who used his company to launder their money, with Mejia charging commissions for transactions. The law caught up with him though and he was sentenced to three years in federal prison and forced to forfeit all assets derived from his illegal business venture.

Ponzi schemes also make some appearances on the list, with one man sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the sale of thousands of non-existent mobile solar generators (MSGs). Jeff Karpov’s official crime was account fraud and rental proceeds, and he was also sentenced to forfeiture of $120 million in assets.

‘The makers of the film’ says IRS-CI chief

The complete list of the top ten IRS-CI investigations is slowly being published on the Twitter IRS-CI The account, where IRS-CI President Jim Lee said of the list: “The 2021 investigative work has everything that makes for a TV movie — a nonprofit embezzlement, a family fraud ring that stole millions in COVID — relief money and a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme used To buy sports teams and luxury cars.

“But this is a reality and I am grateful to the IRS-CI clients for pursuing these leads and ensuring that perpetrators are prosecuted for their crimes.”

Fleeing the COVID Relief Scam

The first entry on the list included the Ayvazyan family from the San Fernando Valley who were sentenced to years in prison for fraud in obtaining tens of millions of dollars in COVID relief funds.

Their crimes included bank fraud, upscale and aggravated identity theft, in which the family used stolen and made-up identities to submit 150 fraudulent applications for COVID relief funds. Using false payroll records and tax documents to verify their applications to the Small Business Administration, they then spent the money they earned on the likes of luxury homes, jewelry, and designer handbags.

Members of the Aivazian family received a variety of sentences, a maximum of 17.5 years. However, husband and wife Richard and Terrapillian fled before their sentencing and are now on the run.

Photo: Depositphotos

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