Sunday, April 22, 2012

Class action lawsuit

Last Thursday (4/19) I received an email from an attorney's office requesting participation in a class action lawsuit against the IRS. First, I am not a litigious person.  I believe in our legal system, but unfortunately the magnitude of this issue overshadows the need to seek retribution.  But I would rather see our government throw its weight behind changing laws, policies, and practices to overhaul both the technical and human elements of its security and privacy systems - vice going crazy over playing damage control over some tax returns.

Here is the text from the email:

"You are receiving this email as one of our potential class members in the suit we have filed for refunds from the IRS. 

We filed our suit naming Chris and Jay Gordon as named plaintiffs.  Within two days, the Gordon’s received their refund.  This gives the IRS a chance to argue that the Gordon’s cannot bring suit since they were paid and, therefore have no “standing” to sue.  Because of this, we amended the complaint and added Crystal Lake as a named plaintiff.  Within days, Crystal received her refund.  The IRS has now filed a motion to dismiss claiming that the Gordon’s and Ms. Lake lack standing to sue.  This type of behavior happens a lot in the class action arena.  However, courts have come to recognize that, in most cases where a defendant’s conduct toward the plaintiff changes after a suit has been filed, the defendant has not turned over a new leaf but is trying to undermine the lawsuit.  Accordingly, when this occurs, the courts now place the burden on the defendant to prove that it is not merely trying to disqualify the named plaintiffs.  Unfortunately, when the federal government is the defendant, the standard is different.  The burden is on us to prove the IRS is taking deliberate steps to eliminate our named plaintiffs by providing refunds to plaintiffs after they are named in the suit.  Accordingly, we wish to file an additional amended complaint with more named plaintiffs.  Many of you have indicated in the past that you would be willing to serve as a named representative party plaintiff.  I have attached a form retainer agreement.  If you are interested in actively participating, please sign the retainer letter return it to us.  Please note, our amended complaint must be filed by Monday (April 23) so we'll need a quick response."

There are approximately 215,000,000 taxpayers in the United States. Of that, approximately 460,000 individuals have been reported affected by tax fraud since 2008. That is roughly less that a quarter of a percent of all taxpayers affected by this despicable crime. Yes - IT SUCKS. However, I just want my tax return. I don't need to sue Uncle Sam - just do what's right, okay?

Monday, April 16, 2012

See my interview on Fox 13

Interview finally aired on Fox 13.

Woo buddy, I need to put the cheeseburgers down after deployment!

For the record, I don't have high hopes that I'll see my return, but this type crime is so complicated and complex that our own laws that in place to protect us as taxpayers gets in the way of smooth collaboration between local and federal law enforcement.  Its unfortunate, but there's just no way our system will work through this quick enough to see my return come through in year or less.

In other news... 
12 April 2012, The Ledger: Tax Refund Finally Arrives for Widow of Slain Officer Whose Identity Was Stolen

This poor woman had to deal with this issue for TWO YEARS, in addition to the pain of losing her husband.  I'm thankful that the government was able to finally intervene and this fallen officer's family.

 Timeline Update

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hacked By Turbo Tax

This blogger has an awesome page dedicated to their similar issue; an absolute must read.

Our stories all seem to parallel each other.  How many will it take before the IRS (and the federal government) become proactive and change their policies to help the victims, instead of protecting the guilty?

Interview with Fox 13

Almost forgot... yesterday afternoon I completed an interview with Ms Tanya Arja from Tampa's Fox 13. I'm still waiting on a response from my public affairs officer before submitting a photo of myself in uniform so she can release her story, however, it was nice just being able to discuss the story with a member of the media.

Hopefully other individuals will have the opportunity to have their stories heard...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Will the IRS begin to "play nice" with local law enforcement in Tampa?

07 April 2012, Pilot program targeting tax fraud progresses

"Authorities are moving forward with a plan to allow the IRS to share some information with law enforcement agencies investigating tax refund fraud.

Federal, state and local law enforcement officials met on Thursday with the Internal Revenue Service to talk about a proposed pilot program in which the IRS would seek waivers from identity theft victims to allow the federal government to share fraudulent tax returns filed in their names."

On another note... over the weekend I was "introduced" via phone call to another military member experiencing the same tax fraud hell.  It's really becoming difficult to stomach the lengths at which people will go to take money from hard working Americans, who are not only taxpayers but individuals willing to give up personal freedoms (and perhaps their lives!) in order to provide the very blanket of security these criminals hide under. They should add extra time to each criminal's prison sentence for every military member they stole from...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tax fraud undercover video

5 Apr 2012,   This is a neat little gem... actually watching undercover police video of someone stealing hard earned taxpayer income. Sort of makes your blood boil a little!

The media ... a force to be reckoned with.

So, in one week's time, I have been contacted by two separate media outlets: (3/28) Scott Zamost, a Sr. Producer from CNN Atlanta, and today I received a call and email from Tanya Arja, a reporter from Fox 13.

Mr. Zamost is collecting information for the follow-on story (CNN broke the initial piece at the national level), and Ms. Arja is also developing their package from the local perspective. I will say, that I did not focus my research skills on this subject until I was a victim of tax fraud - but the local reporting on the issue has been long-term and persistent. I feel foolish for not being better informed, although there is not much you can do to protect yourself from this crime!

Either way, both media sources have their benefits. I am more inclined to stick with a local news element in order to build the nexus of victims in Tampa Bay, and allow our voices to be heard collectively with other communities nationwide.

Info updated on my timeline: