Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) information used by IRS to ensure that criminals do not use the U.S. financial systems to legitimize their illegal profits.

Source – Blog contribution by Special Agent / Public Information Officer Scott M. Schneider, IRS Criminal Investigation, Tampa Field Office.

While the investigation and prosecution of tax and tax-related crimes remains the mainstay of the mission of IRS Criminal Investigation, violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) remain part of the IRS enforcement efforts as a way of combating a variety of financial crime. According to Linda J. Osuna, the Special Agent in Charge of the Tampa Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation, we use BSA information to ensure that criminals do not use the U.S. financial systems to legitimize their illegal profits. As in these cases in the Tampa area involving a large theft ring, we are able to evaluate the documents required to be filed as a result of the BSA in order to trace money from the criminal activity directly to the criminal themselves. Whether these investigations result in tax, money laundering or merely federal charges of transportation of stolen property, our agency works closely with local, state and other federal agencies to see that justice is done and bring to bear our expertise as financial investigators.

In Tampa, since November of 2010, four members of a larger conspiracy involving theft and structuring have all pled guilty and have been sentenced. According to Robert E. O’Neill, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich sentenced Elier Boza in February to 37 months in federal prison for conspiring to transport in interstate commerce stolen goods with a value exceeding $5,000. As part of his sentence, the court also entered a $205,000 money judgment against Boza, representing the proceeds he obtained as a result of the thefts, and ordered him to forfeit to the United States a 21 foot Pleasure Pursuit Craft boat and a Ford F150 Truck. Boza pleaded guilty to the thefts on July 22, 2010. According to court documents, Boza, who was a driver for a transport company, and other co-conspirators who worked for Envirofocus Technologies, stole numerous tractor-trailer loads of used automotive batteries, which were then re-sold for a profit. Documents and records were falsified in order to conceal the thefts.

The conspiracy started in 2006 and continued through 2009, resulting in a loss to Envirofocus Technologies and Johnson Controls, Inc. of almost $3.4 million, which the court ordered Boza and his co-conspirators to repay. Co-conspirators Donald Vold and Emely Romero also pleaded guilty to federal charges and were sentenced in separate cases to 24 months and 21 months imprisonment, respectively. Most recently, Donald Lock, another co-conspirator who had previously pled guilty to similar charges in a separate case, received a five year sentence of probation with 8 months of home detention from Federal District Court Judge James D. Whittemore. Lock was also required to pay more than $384,000 in restitution to Envirofocus and Johnson Controls.

These cases were investigated by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and were prosecuted by United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill and Assistant United States Attorney Josephine W. Thomas. It is anticipated that the remaining conspirators will be tried later this year, however, it remains that all individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that Indictments and Informations are mere charging documents alleging violations of federal law.

For more information on the IRS’s role in combating crimes through the analysis and use of financial information you can go to the IRS website at the following links:

http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=113001,00.html (link to the history of IRS’s role in Money Laundering and the start of the BSA); 

http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=117522,00.html (link to IRS Criminal Investigation s work in Financial Institution Fraud).
Report IRS Tax Fraud by Calling  1-888-482-6825 or by visiting  www.irsrewards.com

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