From IRS News: IR-2016-45, March 21, 2016

WASHINGTON — As part of the continued crackdown on refund fraud and identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service today released the Top 10 Identity Theft Prosecutions for Fiscal Year 2015. These prosecutions are part of the wide-ranging strategy to combat refund fraud and assist taxpayers through detection, prevention and resolving identity theft cases in a timely manner.

“The IRS continues fighting identity theft on several fronts, including the Security Summit initiative where we have joined with the states and the nation’s tax industry to beef up prevention and detection of fraudulent returns,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “These efforts go hand-in-hand with our important Criminal Investigation work, where our agents continue working to bring identity thieves to justice across the nation.”

In addition, the IRS continues to promote its “Taxes. Security. Together” campaign,  a joint effort between the IRS, states and the private-sector tax industry. The collaboration is designed to raise taxpayer awareness about taking simple steps on the Internet and their personal devices to protect the safety of their financial and tax data. The education campaign complements the expanded series of important new protections the IRS, states and tax industry put in place for the 2016 filing season to address tax-related identity theft.

“Identity theft has shifted from small-time thieves to multinational criminal enterprises that mine the internet for personal information that is stolen, collected and sold to other criminals,” said Richard Weber, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. “IRS CI Special Agents are the best at unraveling the threads holding these schemes together. Along with our partners in the public and private financial sectors, we are dismantling these crooked enterprises and enforcing our nation’s tax laws.”

In fiscal year 2015, the IRS initiated 776 identity theft related investigations, which resulted in 774 sentencings through Criminal Investigation enforcement efforts. The courts continue to impose significant jail time with the average months to serve in FY 2015 at 38 months — the longest sentencing being over 27 years.

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