For whatever reason, sunny Florida is a hotbed of criminal tax activities. Refund fraud is particularly rampant in Tampa, as described in a very interesting article appearing in the Tampa Bay Times over the weekend. According to the author, Patty Ryan, the new generation of tax criminals either do not fear the IRS or do not believe what they are doing is all that bad when compared to other crimes like drug dealing.
“Frequently, when police find probable cause to search for drugs on a traffic stop, they find trappings of the tax refund trade.
A Nissan Xterra searched in a March 30 drug bust … in East Tampa turned up 48.7 grams of powder and rock cocaine, 100 grams of marijuana, digital scales, $14,957 in cash, four fraudulent tax return checks worth $32,165, and 67 TurboTax debit cards, along with ledgers of personal information for hundreds of people, police said.
The IRS has identified Tampa as an ideal location for a pilot program that would enlist the cooperation of local law enforcement in cracking down on tax cheats. It’s easy to see why they chose Tampa.