Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division just released its 2022 annual report, and Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Denver Field Office Andy Tsui spoke to KGVO News about specific cases related to Montana.

Tsui referenced the 2022 annual report with some impressive numbers.

The Lesson here is 'Don't Mess with the IRS'

“Our annual report is out, and it does highlight our past year very well,” began Agent Tsui. “One of some of the highlights that we want to tell everyone is that we identified almost $27 billion in financial crimes. Of that, there's $5.7 billion in tax fraud that we identified and referred 1,837 cases for prosecution this past fiscal year.”

Tsui said his office also had extensive experience investigation fraud dealing with COVID relief for businesses.

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“Not everyone knows how involved we are in Cares Act related fraud, which is also known as COVID fraud, specifically the payroll type, such as the PPP loans,” he said. investigations were engaged in, we've worked quite a few even in the Montana area. That is one area that we're happy to talk about because that impact is pretty significant, and our ability to work those cases has contributed to a number of successful prosecutions.”

The Agent Specified one Tax Fraud Case out of Bozeman

Specific to Montana, Tsui referenced the case against Melissa Horner, a Bozeman woman who was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison and to pay $2,878,522 in restitution for failing to pay employment taxes for her business.

“In Montana, I'll note one employment tax case that we recently worked. And that's the Melissa Horner case. The employment tax case, though it is a tax crime. a lot of times the payroll information is not sent over either to the IRS or Social Security. So we have a lot of taxpayers out there who are not getting credit for the wages that they've earned. So we're successful in prosecuting that case, which resulted in just over $2.8 million in restitution to the IRS and we're able to get a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for Miss Horner.”

The Whitefish Case was about Fake 'Clandestine Operations'

Matthew Marshall of Whitefish was sentenced to 6 years in prison and 3 years of supervised release for wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. Tsui provided more details.

“The Marshal case was more of an investment fraud type case where Marshall was able to solicit monies from individuals to help fund or what he purported to be entered into what makes an interesting case of supposedly ‘clandestine operations’, when in fact the money went to his personal spending, travel and lavish expenses. Marshall was sentenced to six years in prison, three years supervised release, and restitution of $2.3 million dollars, then also just under $900,000 restitution to the IRS for failing to report that income.”

Click here to read the entire report.

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