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Determining Sentencing in Maryland Tax Fraud Cases

In tax fraud cases, the federal sentencing guidelines are based on the amount of loss. That loss is calculated differently depending on the type of offense. The loss corresponds to an offense level, which corresponds to the guideline. As the loss increases, those guidelines are going to increase as well.

Determining sentencing in Maryland tax fraud cases can be impacted by efforts taken to disguise or hide the alleged offense. The outcome of one’s case can be especially impacted if those efforts involve other people, business, shell corporations, or legal entities, are often considered by the Government to constitute sophisticated means. A seasoned fraud sentencing attorney can help you create strong defense possibilities for court.

What is the Base Level Offense for Tax Fraud?

The base level offense for tax fraud depends on the amount of loss. If it is under $6,500, the guideline starts at zero to six months, which is the lowest range. If there is zero, it means term of probation and there would not be any prison time. The largest category is when the loss is more than $550 million. In that case, the guidelines start at 188 to 235 months. The range starts with over 15 and goes to almost 20 years if a person is found guilty of defrauding the government of over half a billion of dollars of lost tax revenue.

Specific Characteristics of a Tax Fraud Offense

There are different kinds of tax fraud and the loss is calculated differently depending on the type of fraud. The failure to file the loss is calculated in a certain way, for example, if income was underreported. If it involves sophisticated means or use to commit the fraud, that may increase the offense level and the guidelines. If there was a specific source of income that was over $10,000, that may also increase the offense level and the guidelines.

Determining Sentencing for Tax Fraud Cases

Several factors determine sentencing in Maryland tax fraud cases. The guidelines are determined by the US Sentencing Commission. One looks at the statute based on the crime that was committed and the value of the lost tax revenue. This corresponds to a specific offense level. There can be specific characteristics which may adjust the offense level up or down. The offense level corresponds to a particular guideline.

Once the guidelines are established, the next consideration is the factors laid out in the federal sentencing statute, 18 USC § 3553. These factors include the deterrent impact of a sentence, the defendant’s personal background, and other mitigating circumstances. These factors, in conjunction with the guidelines, are what the judge uses to determine the sentence.

What is the Impact of a Sentencing Scale?

The sentencing scale in tax fraud cases works according to the value of the tax loss. As the loss increases, the corresponding offense level increases as well. There are categories for $2,500 of loss or less, under $6,500, and under $15,000. Once it gets over $40,000, $100,000, et cetera, each corresponding level is an increase in the offense level number. Each offense level corresponds to particular sentencing guidelines. As the dollar amount loss goes up, the guidelines correspondingly increase.

Importance of Speaking With an Attorney

Someone’s lawyer may try to negotiate for the factors that could positively impact determining sentencing in Maryland tax fraud cases. This phase is the same process, but arguing to the judge to make this determination. Whether or not the person’s lawyer and the government come to an agreement, the lawyer is still going to advocate for them to the judge.

A lawyer is going to argue why enhancement characteristics should not be applied. For example, if the government in a tax fraud case is arguing that a person used sophisticated means to commit the fraud and their sentence should be enhanced by additional prison time, a person’s lawyer is going to argue that it should not apply.

An attorney could find legal authorities that define sophisticated means and argue to the judge that the facts of the present case do not meet the definition. That is something that requires the skills and experience of a federal lawyer. Specific offense characteristic could have an impact on a person’s sentence and a federal lawyer tries to get them the most appropriate outcome.