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Can I avoid jail time for tax return fraud under one thousand dollars?

Miami, FL |

I have no prior arrests and I have never in my life been in trouble with the law and I do not know much about the government or it's system. I did some one a favor and deposited a check for them and the person that gave me the check signed the back of the check and I had no knowledge that depositing a check in my account for someone else would get me in trouble and with that being said all the money was taken out which was less than 1,000 dollars and I let my mom know after what was done so my mom put the money bank in the account to show the irs that I'm innocent and that I would never defraud the system or be an any trouble

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Attorney answers 4


It is unknown how young you are since you asked your mom for help. Here's some advice, do not ever post anything potentially incriminating on this site or anywhere on the internet or anywhere else. As general advice, you have a right to remain silent, period. That means to any other person or institution, even a seemingly friendly police officer. The only person who MUST keep your statements confidential is your attorney. Consult with a criminal defense attorney for advice. Do not make anymore statements to anyone else. Good luck.

The hiring of an attorney is an important decision that you should undertake with careful considerations. The use of Avvo, Inc.'s question and answer forum is only to provide general information and in no way forms an attorney-client relationship between the you and the attorney answering your question.


If you believe that you didn't commit a crime, then hire an attorney and fight your case. The best way to avoid jail time is through a vigorous defense of the case. Contact someone today.


I certainly agree with counsel that you should never state anything incriminating to anyone other than your attorney, which is not to say you put yourself in a worse position, but rather that you should never take the chance of doing so. I also agree with counsel that the best action is to hire an attorney - NOW. If you absolutely can't afford an attorney to consult with, then do not panic or get overly distraught. The IRS is very familiar with the type of fraud you mentioned, and if it was an isolated incident, it's not likely that it will be pursued criminally. But again, don't take chances if approached by the IRS - get an attorney at that time no matter what you need to sell or who you need to borrow the money from.

The law is complicated and although the facts expressed may seem to be all that is relevant, there may be many other important facts to consider. Also, the law is constantly undergoing change, so what may be correct today, may not be accurate tomorrow. Only a full consultation with an attorney experienced or knowledgeable in the specific legal subject matter is likely to result in the optimal course of action. My practice has entailed more than a 30 year span of many real estate, personal property, and bankruptcy issues. Find out more about me at:


Based upon what you have described, it appears that you may have been an unwitting participant in a fraudulent tax return scheme claiming refunds belonging another taxpayer (and possibly involving identity fraud). If an IRS Special Agent(s) should come calling DO NOT ANSWER ANY OF THEIR QUESTIONS without the assistance and advice of counsel . You should instead assert your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and your Sixth Amendment right to counsel and tell them that you want to consult with counsel before you answer any of their substantive questions.

Your attorney can then speak with the Special Agent and ascertain the nature of the IRS's investigation; then, if the Asst. U.S. Attorney assigned to the case provides your attorney with a "non-target" letter, then your attorney will probably advise you to truthfully tell them what you know about the matter. Due to the small and non-recurring amount at issue, I seriously doubt that you will be on the government's "radar" for purposes of prosecution. In all likelihood, the IRS will want you to testify what your "friend" told you about why he needed to deposit a Treasury check into your account and why you allowed him to do it. If I were you, I would not hesitate to throw your acquaintance "under the bus."

Good luck! And remember . . . God helps those who help themselves and assert their constitutional rights.

The answer to this question does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Moreover, this attorney is licensed to practiced law ONLY in the State of California. Answers to questions from users in other jurisdictions or states are meant to provide only general information. Users should contact a local attorney in their jurisdiction or state to address their specific tax issue.