A wise man once said that there are two things human beings cannot fail to encounter one they are born; taxes and death. True, human beings across the world have come up with ingenious ways of trying to skip paying taxes. However, like with many things that humans try to legally avoid, there are people who use fraudulent means to keep themselves from paying taxes. In Hillsborough County, the ugly head of the fraudulent tax persons has been reared once again. Sometime back the IRS federal agents took custody of two women who were suspected of identity theft. These women also cashed in on tax refunds that were worth over a million dollars. The women were apparently shocked to realize that their long-standing tax fraud schemes had been uncovered. However, such is the vigilance with which the government is pursuing the tax fraudsters that they do not know what hits them when it does.
Cpl Bruce Crumpler who works at the Economic Crimes Division of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office put is so candidly, “They always believe this day will never come. They always have that look on that face when they’re caught, like hand caught in the cookie jar.” This is a very true statement that affects quite a large number of tax fraudsters. To them, it is bliss time until the government gets on its tail. While it is true that very few people actually plan for the eventuality that they are caught, even fewer people expect that the fraudulent scheme will matter when they are eventually caught. It is not uncommon for most of these people to claim that since tax fraud is a victimless crime, then the punishment that is meted out should not be harsh.
The fraudsters, Cullens, and Hawks have been accused by the IRS of colluding with another friend of theirs by the name Kenyon Williams in California, to file just about 150 bogus tax returns, which were used by them to claim in excess of a million dollars in refunds. What made the case a tad bit more interesting is the fact that the women were stealing the identities of patients from both University Community Hospital and the US Naval Hospital in San Diego.
Of course, as it is expected the hospital came out guns blazing claiming to be shocked at the actions of the women and their accomplice. Their statement, which says in part; “At Florida Hospital Tampa, our first priority is taking care of our patients and ensuring their safety, security, and privacy at all times. We take any breach of personal healthcare information very seriously. Unfortunately, we recently learned that personal information relating to 45 of our patients had been compromised in January 2012” seems to be a show of force and aimed at showing the world their support for the arrest. Just this year in April, the same hospital is said to have implemented an electronic health records system that is meant to improve the privacy and security of the kind of information that is normally entrusted to the hospital’s database.