Posted: 4:08 a.m. Thursday, June 20, 2013

State investigators crack down on large-scale tax evaders

Tax evasion crackdown
WSB-TV
Georgia Department of Revenue officials say their office is focused on large-scale crimes like money laundering, tax evasion and identity theft to file false returns.

By Amy Napier Viteri

ATLANTA —

Investigators with the Georgia Department of Revenue are cracking down on big-time tax offenders throughout the state.

Chief of Special Investigations Josh Waites told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri his office is focused on large-scale crimes like money laundering, tax evasion and identity theft to file false returns.

"We're just taking a more aggressive stance and basically going after people that are basically stealing money from the taxpayers of Georgia,” Waites said.

Waites has been heading the office for the past four months, and in that time, said they have hired four new special agents to keep up with the cases.

Channel 2 recently went along with investigators as they raided the home of a Fayette County tax preparer charged with forging tax documents to get clients big returns.

On Monday, state investigators partnered with Houston County investigators as they seized around $6 million in assets and charged four people suspected of laundering money from commercial gambling through liquor stores they owned.

Investigators confiscated nearly $1 million in cash that they found hidden throughout the liquor stores and the suspect’s home.

"This was money that had gone through gambling machines and they were using that money to pay out customers and then laundering that money back through the liquor stores," according to Waites.

Waites said through partnerships with local and state agencies his office would be investigating more cases like these.

"It's a law enforcement agency. We're not collecting taxes at gunpoint but we are going after the criminals that are stealing tax dollars,” Waites said.

He also urged any citizen to contact his office if they suspect illegal tax activity anywhere in the state.

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