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14 Miami Dade College Students Arrested for Tax Fraud

In a recent story, 14 students, both former and current, from Miami Dade College were arrested Tuesday and charged with tax fraud after attempting to collect nearly $1.9 million dollars from the federal government. All together 21 people were arrested for their involvement in the tax fraud scheme.

The students' scheme involved hacking into various business and government institution's accounts where they stole personal identities and information to file tax returns and redirect money from Social Security to launder the money. More than 644 Miami Dade College students were victims in the scheme.

The most popular source that was used to set up accounts was a company called Higher One, a source dedicated to providing finical aid to college students. Numerous fraudulent tax refunds were deposited into the High One accounts and also received fraudulent social security checks from the accounts.

The Magnitude of Tax Fraud in Florida

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Florida has the highest rate of identity theft in the country, and has clearly had an influence on college students. The U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of Florida stated that the "takedown is further evidence of the insidious and widespread nature of stolen identity tax refund fraud."

Officials at Miami Dade College stated that the actions made by the students are not a reflection of the school but rather an outside source who takes "advantage of often vulnerable students."

An IRS Criminal Investigator involved in the case stated, "As we approach the next tax filing season, let me warn others not to be enticed to participate in this type of criminal behavior to make a few dollars."

Investigators are cracking down on tax fraud saying that no more will be overlooked and claim that they and the FBI will continue to investigate and prosecute these types of cases to the fullest extent of the law. The penalties for tax fraud are serious resulting in prison time and a permanent criminal record.

To find out more about building a defense against tax fraud, contact the Law Offices of Paul D. Petruzzi, P.A. PA to speak with a Miami federal criminal defense attorney .