If you were a judge, what would you consider important in sentencing a defendant who was convicted of a tax crime? As the IRS Special Agent, how would you prepare the prosecutor for the sentencing? As a forensic accountant, how would you prepare the defense lawyer?
In 550 words or more, please discuss and address the following questions above.
This paper should be assigned to someone who knowledgeable of Tax Fraud, Forensic Accounting and Criminal Tax proceedings.
Please see ideal answer below:
If I was the judge in the case I would first start off with information about the defendant personal life. Getting information and documents about their early life, living with their parents and siblings. As well as if they are married now and have kids how the family will be affected if this individual should be sentenced to time in jail. I would also want to take a look at the individual’s academic/education history. If they graduated from college (which university) and what kind of student were they. Where they part of organizations, (DECA, FBLA, etc.) or did they just go to class and leave. In addition, the defendant past and current employment history, this can help to determine if they have a background in accounting and if they had the knowledge and experience that could have been used when they committed the crime. Also, how the individual gave back to the community, did they participate in charities, food banks, help out universities and schools. You could tell a person based on their history, so this information would be used in order to determine if the crime was committed willfully or it was an honest mistake.
Another aspect I would look into is how similar cases were convicted, in this way those previous cases will serve as benchmarks to determine what convicting and sentencing will be “reasonable” to the defendant. But the defendant history will play a critical on their sentencing as well as the severity of the tax crime.
IRS Special Agent:
As the IRS Special Agent the information needed to prepare the prosecution of the defendant would be the following: collect previous years filing to determine if this was a first-time mistake or has it been a pattern within the years. In addition, if an accountant was hired in order to prepare the filing, they would be called in as a witness in order to testify whether or not the defendant told them or withheld the information from them to be processed on the tax return. At I would also issue a search warrant to go through the defendant computer, text message in order to identify if this was all planned and if other individuals were part or assisted in the tax crime. Subpoenaing would also be issued on the defendant bank records as well as we analyze any financial information that we can access. Another outlet I may consider researching is the client social media pages, in this day and age people post everything and anything so if our defendant makes $50k a year, but every weekend is on a yacht or private plane going on vacation that should raise a red flag immediately.
As the forensic accountant, we would come up with the true amount of money owed to the IRS, this would help determine the offense level. Example, if the defendant owed more than $40,000, but less than $100,000, then the offense level would be 14. The offense level can then be traced to the sentencing table, which can help determine how long in months the defendant can spend in jail. This chart is also based on past criminal history as well.
As a forensic accountant, I would review the documents produced by the IRS Agent, looking for any errors in their calculations and statements. These errors than would be brought to the defense team to make their argument stronger.