The Dangers of Northwest Florida Tax Fraud Schemes

It can be easy to think that tax fraud schemes are less dangerous than other criminal enterprises. Unlike traditionally violent crime, tax fraud can be done electronically and thousands of miles from a potential target. However, the danger and legal penalties for being caught in a tax fraud scheme are all too real, as these northwest Florida news stories will demonstrate.

Federal Fraud in Northwest Florida

Fraud in northwest Florida ranges from the big-time to the small-time, as the latest northwest Florida fraud news bears out. In November of 2015, three men were sentenced to federal prison as part of a plea deal for fraud charges. Two of those men were from northwest Florida, and they were sentenced in federal court for conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and an aggravated identity theft connected to filing false federal income tax returns.

The US Attorney’s Office noted that the men admitted they had conspired to file fraudulent tax returns by using stolen identities of assisted-living residents in Bonifay, Florida. In addition to this fraud scheme, the men also conspired to commit fraud against lab patients in the Tampa, Florida area. In sum, the three defendants tried to steal nearly $300,000 from the United States, and they were ordered to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution to the IRS in addition to their prison sentences.

Other Recent Florida Tax Fraud News

While the following fraud development is not as extensive as the previous federal scheme, Pace doctor Sheila Mohammed was recently sentenced to a year and one day in prison for falsifying her tax returns. In addition to her prison sentence, Sheila Mohammed was ordered to pay $255,158 in restitution.

In total, Mohammed pled guilty to seven criminal infractions, which included signing and filing false tax returns that grossly under reported her total income tax over a four-year period. As president and owner of The Industrial Medicine Institute, she also signed and filed false tax returns.

Finally, a well-known Niceville restaurant owner was recently arrested on tax charges as well. According to authorities, restaurant owner Brian Cartenuto is being charged with two counts failure to file six consecutive tax returns as well as two counts of refusing to file or pay state tax returns. Failing to file six consecutive tax returns is a third degree felony in Florida, whereas refusing to file or pay state tax returns is a second degree misdemeanor.

It remains to be seen what becomes of Mr. Cartenuto’s case, but third degree felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation and a $5,000 fine. Second degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine.

In cases like Mr. Cartenuto’s and the previous cases mentioned, the dangers of tax fraud schemes become all too real. In such cases, northwest Florida defendants charged with tax fraud need an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney.

If you have been accused or charged with tax fraud contact Destin Florida defense attorney John F. Greene. He has more than 30 years of experience working with defendants in both state and federal courts. Attorney Greene is an experienced trial attorney and his firm is also a certified debt relief agency in the State of Florida.

Attorney Greene’s office is located in the City of Destin and he serves all those along the Emerald Coast, specifically the Crestview, Destin, DeFuniak Springs, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville and Panama City Beach areas. Contact attorney John F. Greene either online or call 850-424-6833 to schedule a consultation.



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