U.S. Justice Department speeding arrests of tax refund thieves
* Federal prosecutors gain new authority for criminal tax cases
* Effort focuses on ID theft for tax refunds
WASHINGTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department launched a new effort on Tuesday to combat identity theft used to steal income tax refunds, granting federal prosecutors authority to quickly arrest suspects.
Federal U.S. attorneys now need approval from the Justice Department Tax Division before starting a prosecution in criminal tax cases.
But the agency said that effective Oct. 1, attorneys may bypass the Justice review process and authorize arrests immediately in ID theft tax cases. Justice's Tax Division will still need to review federal indictments for criminal tax cases, the agency said.
The change is a "green light that U.S. attorneys have to deal with this in a more-rapid response," said Mark Matthews, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale and former head of the criminal investigation division at the Internal Revenue Service.
In 2011, 641,052 taxpayers had their identities stolen, up from 270,518 the previous year, according to IRS statistics cited in a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- Bangalore-bound Malaysian plane lands safely after landing gear scare
- Bangalore-bound Malaysia Airlines plane turns back after tyre burst on takeoff
- India passes halfway mark in election with BJP gaining strength
- Supreme Court allows iron ore mining in Goa with upper limit of 20 million tonnes
- Rupee sees worst single-day fall in over a month