Tax service company targeting senior citizens of East Texas char - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Tax service company targeting senior citizens of East Texas charged with tax fraud, identity theft

Posted: Updated:
  • CBS19.tv Web ExclusivesMore>>

  • Web Exclusive: Rob Lowe is getting "sharky" for a TV network

    Web Exclusive: Rob Lowe is getting "sharky" for a TV network

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:45 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:45:11 GMT
    Actor Rob Lowe is lending his comedic talents to the Discovery channel.  In a new promo for Shark Week he throws up chum while riding two sharks.More >>
    Actor Rob Lowe is lending his comedic talents to the Discovery channel.  In a new promo for Shark Week he throws up chum while riding two sharks.More >>
  • Web Exclusive: Company cancels class to nix Southern accents, y'all, after complaints

    Web Exclusive: Company cancels class to nix Southern accents, y'all, after complaints

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:00:17 GMT
    We live in the South, so some of us may have a Southern accent, but would you consider saying "goodbye" to "howdy, y'all"?
    The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee was going to offer a speech class for its workers next month to do just that, until it got canceled.
    More >>
    We live in the South, so some of us may have a Southern accent, but would you consider saying "goodbye" to "howdy, y'all"?
    The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee was going to offer a speech class for its workers next month to do just that, until it got canceled.
    More >>
  • Web Exclusive: Ultra HD TVs

    Web Exclusive: Ultra HD TVs

    (CNN) -Some people just have to have the latest in television technology. The newest TVs on the market- ultra-high definition TVs- or UHD TVs. They have higher screen resolution than current high def screens, and are also known as "4-K" sets. "More >>
    (CNN) -Some people just have to have the latest in television technology. The newest TVs on the market- ultra-high definition TVs- or UHD TVs. They have higher screen resolution than current high def screens, and are also known as "4-K" sets. "More >>

Attorney General of Texas:

AUSTIN (KYTX) – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged Syam Tax Services, LLC and two of its officers – Shannon Mays and Marshrief Shead – with fraudulently obtaining elderly Texans' sensitive personal information and illegally filing falsified federal income tax returns on their behalf. In response to the State's enforcement action, Judge Michael Gomez of the 129th District Court of Harris County today froze Syam's assets and entered a temporary restraining order against all named defendants.

"Targeting senior centers and churches, Syam Tax Services launched an apparently well-orchestrated scheme to defraud the elderly – and even worse, those who rely on federal benefits for their well-being," Attorney General Abbott said. "My office is working to put a stop to this despicable fraud, and thanks to the court order we obtained today, Syam is prohibited from continuing to violate the law. We first informed Texans of this scam in December, and are now moving swiftly to shut down Syam's deceptive operation and prevent other seniors from becoming victims of this scam."

Last month, Attorney General Abbott announced that the State was investigating Syam Tax Services, and cautioned Texans to avoid the defendants' tax fraud scheme. The results of that investigation are revealed in court documents filed today, which explain how Syam enlisted recruiters to canvass East Texas churches and senior centers, where elderly Social Security or disability recipients could be recruited. When Syam's recruiters approached potential victims, they falsely claimed that low-income Social Security recipients were eligible for "free stimulus money" or "social security stimulus." Next, the recruiters explained that "stimulus" recipients had to provide certain sensitive personal information – including their date of birth, Social Security and bank account numbers, and a copy of their driver's license – and simply sign a form in order to receive their alleged stimulus. Then, unbeknownst to the victims, the recruiters turned the form and sensitive personal information over to Syam, which prepared and filed a fraudulent tax return on the victim's behalf. With the filing of the fraudulent tax return, Syam falsely claimed that the victim was entitled to up to $1,000 or more in refundable tax credits. Expanding on the fraudulent scheme, Syam built in unlawful profits for itself by directing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to deposit approximately half of the tax refund into Syam's own bank account, while the portion that remained after Syam took its cut went to the victim.

In reality, there is not a federal stimulus benefit payment for low-income Social Security recipients. As a result, when the IRS discovers that the victim is not actually eligible for the tax refund, the federal government holds the victim responsible for repaying the entire amount of refund, plus penalties and interest. Since victims were unaware that Syam even filed a tax return on their behalf – much less retained a portion of the refund – most victims first learn they may be liable for the full amount of the fraudulent tax refund when they are contacted by the IRS. As a result, low-income Texans in the East Texas communities that Syam targeted have been left with a debt to the IRS that they cannot afford to repay, despite the fact that these victims thought they would financially benefit from a federal benefit to which they were told they were entitled. Further, because the victims provided Syam's recruiters with their personal identifying and financial information, victims also face the risk of identity theft.

Based on the results of the investigation thus far, state investigators believe that Syam has filed hundreds of fraudulent tax returns, and may even attempt to use the same taxpayer information to file more fraudulent returns in future years. Thus, the Attorney General's Office sought a temporary injunction and asset freeze to prevent Syam from continuing to violate state law. Today's enforcement action charges Syam with multiple violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Texas Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act.

Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.