By Laura Genouw
Clinton County Chronicle staff writer
The Sheriff’s Office of Clinton County is expressing concerns with fraud as the 2013 tax season arrives.
The quiet and usually crimeless city of St. Johns, Mich., which resides in Clinton County, does not usually see more crime than the occasional break-in, but is not immune to fraud during the tax season.
Along with Internal Revenue Service, IRS, fraud cases there have been other cases of fraud in the St. Johns community.
Sharon Worthington, Clinton county police officer who is responsible for the Neighborhood Watch program and newsletter. She pointed to an example of a case where a victim was told he got a federal grant. They told him that in order to receive it, he needed to send in $200,000. They later asked for more money but before he sent in more, the police investigate and it turned out to be fraud.
Worthington also said that banks in the community are being cautious with residents in the community, senior citizens in particular, to prevent cases of fraud happening during the 2013 tax season.
The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office releases an annual report almost every year that contains statistical data about fraud and other crimes, obtained from the Department’s Administration Division, Central Dispatch and the Michigan State Police.
According to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office 2011 uniform crime report, there were 39 actual offenses of fraud crimes. There were also 13 actual offenses of retail fraud in this same year.
According the IRS government website, www.irs.gov, there are a variety of tax fraud alerts that the IRS look for come tax season. The IRS said that there are many people who argue that taxes are voluntary or illegal. However, the courts are continuously denying these reports and arresting non-filers.
The IRS said that there are many “too good to be true” tax scams that citizens should be educated about. Taking part in illegal schemes to avoid paying taxes, whether the person is aware of it or not, can result in imprisonment and fines, plus the repayment of taxes not paid.
There are many abusive tax return preparers according to the IRS. The IRS said that most preparers can provide good services to the people, but some preparers file false and fraudulent tax returns, which in turn defraud clients.
The Clinton County Sheriff is Wayne Kangas and the Undersheriff is Jack Phillips. The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office is located at 1347 E. Townsend Road in St. Johns, where fraud crimes along with other crimes can be reported.
Sources: www.irs.gov – tax fraud alerts
Clinton County Sheriff’s Office
Sharon Worthington, neighborhood watch