WJTV News Channel 12 - Tax fraud not as easy to see on Tampa streets

Tax fraud not as easy to see on Tampa streets

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The tax refund fraud crime was rampant on Tampa streets a few years ago has quieted in the new filing season, though law enforcement says it is still fighting the fraudsters looking to steal identities and file fake tax returns.

"I think that the trend is down," said Jim Robnett, special agent in charge of IRS Criminal investigations in the Tampa area.

However, Robnett says the nearly two dozen agents working in the Bay area spent about 90 percent of their time working identity theft and tax refund fraud cases.

Robnett said that while fraudsters will continue to steal identities, the "success rate for filing false tax returns is much less than it was before."

Investigators say criminals still active in the crime appear to be less open about their actions and their new found wealth than they were just a few years ago when they drove high-end vehicles with fancy rims and bragged about their successes online.

Law enforcement officers also credit increased IRS filters, the arrests and convictions of some high-profile tax fraud players and a new Florida law in helping discourage the crime.

The new law, which went into effect last fall, makes it illegal to possess other people's identities (potentially a name, social security number and date of birth) without their permission. Previously, officers would have to prove someone's ill intent in using that information, which could involve a lengthy investigation.


  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:25 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:25:05 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:14:48 GMT
    Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled. Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
  • Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:06:23 GMT
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Gymnastics coach accused of sex with Brandon teen bonds out

    Gymnastics coach accused of sex with Brandon teen bonds out

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:02 AM EDT2014-07-31 12:02:32 GMT
    Justin Henry, a 21-year-old gymnastics coach accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, is out of jail Thursday morning. 
    Justin Henry, a 21-year-old gymnastics coach accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, is out of jail Thursday morning. 
  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:25 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:25:05 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Pinellas commissioners to tour new public safety complex

    Pinellas commissioners to tour new public safety complex

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:30 AM EDT2014-07-31 09:30:41 GMT
    The complex renderingThe complex rendering
    Pinellas County Commissioners will have a VIP tour this morning of the brand new public safety complex.
    Pinellas County Commissioners will have a VIP tour this morning of the brand new public safety complex.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1820 TV Road
Jackson, MS 39204

Telephone: 601.372.6311
Fax: 804.819.5569
Email: wjtvnews@wjtv.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.