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Legislator facing charges for alleged tax fraud

Tax fraud can encompass a whole host of activities, from creating shelter companies to hide assets to simply refusing to pay taxes. Both activities are taken seriously and both require an equally serious defense. Tax fraud is one of the most common forms of white-collar crimes. California residents facing state or federal investigations into tax fraud might be interested in a recent case involving a South Carolina legislator charged with tax fraud.

Representative Harold Mitchell is currently set to go to court on November 26 for failing to file income taxes for nearly three years. According to the man's attorney, the legislator did not think that he earned enough to file income tax forms. Apparently he was wrong. As a result, the legislator is also facing an investigation by the SC House Ethics Committee.

In a surprising decision, the legislator has waived his right to confidentiality concerning the inquiry into possible ethics violations stemming from the prosecution. The representative's attorney has stated that his decision to waive his right to confidentiality reflects the fact that his client has nothing to hide, and that the whole matter is nothing more than a big mistake.

According to the complaint, S.C. Representative Mitchell did eventually file delinquent returns for the period in question, however, he then failed to fully report his income in 2009.

The penalties for federal tax fraud can be significant. In addition to restitution, someone found guilty of tax evasion may be responsible for additional financial damages in addition to significant federal prison time. That is why it is so important to be careful when discussing the matter with investigators, especially if there is no legal counsel present at the time.

Source: SCNow, "SC legislator to go to court in tax evasion case," Aug. 25, 2012

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