Fraud Cases in Ft. Myers on the Rise

The covid19 pandemic has created a “crime wave” in Ft. Myers and Cape Coral.  Desperate people do desperate things, and sadly, the covid crisis has caused a lot of people to do things they would never have done before.

Many times, it is a minor crime like not scanning everything at Publix, Wallmart or some other store.  The temptation is just too great when your family is hurting.  Many times, it is writing a bad check, with every intention of making it good later.  Many times, it is petit theft (shoplifting) when you think no one is looking.  Don’t let a lapse in judgement ruin your life.  A good Ft. Myers criminal defense lawyer can make a huge difference.  If the cop tells you, “ you don’t need a lawyer”, don’t believe it.  An arrest can ruin your employment opportunities in the future.  It may keep you from getting a job, getting a license or going to a school. 

There are other crimes on the riseSales tax fraud is one of them.  The reality is that many small businesses are hurting for money and just don’t have the sales tax money they took it and cannot send it to the Department of Revenue.  Some small businesses don’t have the payroll tax money they withheld from employees to send to the IRS.  That is a serious problem that can land you in jail.  You may have meant well and intended to send it in, but instead, did not lay off employees, and paid them the money,  in the hope you could keep your business alive, and now just don’t have it.

Payroll Protection Plan fraud cases are coming.  For some people, the temptation was just too great and the “free money” was just too appealing.

If you think you may have done something wrong, don’t wait until they are knocking at your door, you need to talk to a good Ft. Myers criminal defense lawyer now.  Do not wait until a search warrant is being executed or you are being arrested.  If detectives of agents come to your business, remember, you have the right to remain silent. The reality is you absolutely need to Shut up and lawyer up”.  Do not turn over your records.  Do not try and talk your way out of a problem….it only makes it worse.  You have right to a lawyer…Exercise that right.

At our firm, one partner is a former State prosecutor and the other partner is a former IRS special agent and Federal prosecutor and we have a good understanding of how to defend fraud and tax cases.  If you think you may have done something wrong, don’t wait until they are knocking at your door.  If you didn’t file a return, if you filed a false return, is you did not send in the money you withheld, talk to a good defense lawyer now, not later after you are arrested.

IRS Scams…Why won’t the IRS stop them?

March 19 2018

Have you gotten a call from 202 241 7572?

It is an IRS scam run by some, Asians pretending to be the IRS, claiming the IRS is about to file a lawsuit against you. The sad thing is, some people will fall for this money hustle. It is a pure fraudulent scam and the IRS knows it. If you Google the number you will see hundreds of complaints….But no one in the Government will do anything to stop it. The IRS never calls and says they are going to sue you. The IRS does not have to. They have the power to “levy” on your accounts and the power to seize your assets, like your car or your boat. The IRS is the most powerful agency in the U. S. Government. They don’t need a bunch of amateur hustlers, they have the real power and will never call like this.

The IRS will spend hundreds of hours investigating good citizens that have fallen behind on their payroll taxes or on their income taxes, but not a dime chasing real crooks defrauding good citizens. As a criminal tax lawyer I am at a loss to understand why the IRS will do nothing to stop this fraud. I guess it is probably because the IRS is not getting scammed. As long as it is just good honest citizens getting scammed, the Government does not care. If you get a call from that number don’t bother to return it. They will give you a phony badge number and ask for your name. I called back three times just messing with their heads and finally got a polite accented response of “Go fu** yourself”. If you want to play investigator, play along and get payment information. It beats afternoon soap operas and is good for a laugh. If on any day thousands of people called them and took up their time with bogus calls, maybe they would switch the hustle to something else.

Ft Myers to Orlando Federal Crimes Attorneys

Aiken O’Halloran & Foley
Criminal Defense is ALL WE DO
Sarasota 941-366-3506
Ft Myers 239-334-8890
Cape Coral 239-984-4994
Punta Gorda 941-639-6009

January 2018

Some crimes can only be prosecuted in the State Courts and others in both the State and Federal Courts. Not all criminal defense lawyers practice in both systems. Peter Aiken and Robert Foley actually began their careers as a Federal agents and Peter Aiken a Federal prosecutor. There is a world of difference between the two systems. It is many respects, it is similar to the difference between college football and professional football. The rules of evidence and procedure in many respects are different. Also, the quality of the investigations and the experience of the prosecutors is greater in the Federal system and the deck is stacked even more against you if you are indicted and have to go before a Federal judge in Tampa, Ft. Myers or Orlando.

What types of cases are prosecuted in Federal Court?

Major drug offenses involving smuggling marijuana, importing cocaine and distributing heroin, opiates and synthetic drugs are often charged there. Grow houses and money laundering are also common offenses. If a case is investigated by the FBI, the IRS, Secret Service, the ATF or ICE, it will be prosecuted there. Civil rights prosecutions against law enforcement officers are filed in the Federal system. Income tax evasion and the filing of false tax returns are prosecuted by federal prosecutors. All Customs violations end up in Federal Court as well as most bomb and terrorism cases. The Federal system is the big league when it comes to difficulty of defense and particularly sentencing. Many of the cases against doctors and health care providers are prosecuted in Tampa and Ft. Myers under the wire and mail fraud statutes. If cash or a large amount of money is involved and has been seized the Feds will generally take the money and try and forfeit it as contraband or seize it under the money laundering laws. Weapons violations involving machine guns, silencers, sawed off shotguns will all go to Federal Court where the Federal sentencing guidelines will put a person away for decades in the Federal prison system. When a crime is committed, even if the State does the arrest, they can send it into the Federal Courts to get the benefit of the harsher sentences. If you are under a Federal investigation, get a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer. You have to have an attorney who knows the Federal law and Federal system.

Will my Case Go Federal?

It depends on who you are, what you have done and how bad they want you. If you are black and the case involves crack, or if you have a long criminal history, the local cops may hand your case over to the Feds. They know that if you are convicted there, you will get more time. Many of the crimes carry harsh minimum mandatory sentences and there is no chance of parole. Career criminals end up in Federal Court. Racism does exist and if you are of color, there is a greater chance of being prosecuted federally, particularly on the West coast of Florida. Peter Aiken, as a federal criminal attorney has actually tried cases in Federal Court all over Florida as well as in other cities like Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Savannah, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and most recently in a civil rights trial in Fort Myers.

Child Pornography and the Federal Courts

In recent years, the Feds have become heavily involved in prosecuting kiddie porn cases. The Federal sentencing guidelines have tripled the time you are facing if convicted. The judges often have no choice because of certain minimum mandatory penalties. There are defenses to these types of cases. As an Internet sex crime lawyer and former Federal prosecutor, Peter Aiken had defended men accused of possession and distribution of child pornography in the Courts. Some of the cases can be won on technicalities and in some cases there is a factual defense dealing with knowledge of what was on the computer. If you are contacted by a Federal agent and they ask for your computer, never voluntarily give it up. Cyber crime prosecution is up and Google regularly sends information about certain images to ICAC for investigation. You may be under investigation and never know it until they show up at your door. If arrested, they may try and get what is known as pretrial detention. That means no bond. Having a qualified experienced Federal criminal attorney is critical to success.
If you are arrested and end up in Federal Court you need quality representation by an experienced criminal lawyer. Not all lawyers have actually tried cases there. Look into an attorney’s background before making a decision. Do not rely on advertising alone. You need to meet with the lawyer and ask questions about his or her background, history, track record and then make your decision.




Attorney Peter D Aiken
State and Federal
Tax Defender

The IRS is not your friend, no big surprise. If you have been contacted by an IRS Special Agent, you have a problem. The IRS is heavy handed and hammers tax violators to set an example for others who may be thinking about fudging on their taxes a little. Do not let them make an example out of you. The most common IRS tax crime if failure to file an income tax return. Procrastination can become a crime. Often people fall years behind or fail to file because they don’t have the money to pay. We may be able to solve this problem for you. Do not wait until the IRS is at your door. In many ways, this is like having a bad tooth. It will only get worse and never gets better. Call today and we may be able to get you up to date and avoid prosecution.
Did you cheat on your tax return?
Hopefully, only you know the answer to that question. If you omitted income, claimed a phony deduction, listed a fictitious dependent or hid your money offshore you could have a real problem in the future. Our goal is to help you rectify your past bad decisions. If the IRS is hot on your trail or you have been contacted, do not let them interview you without first talking to Peter Aiken. As a former IRS Special Agent and Former Federal Tax prosecutor he has for over thirty years helped people solve their IRS problems. The IRS may misunderstand your situation or your error may have been a simple mistake and not an intentional act of cheating. Our firm works with local accountants and CPA firms to get you back in good graces with the IRS. Never put off until tomorrow what you really need to do today. Let us help you solve the problem before it gets out of hand and you find yourself in Federal Court facing the most powerful agency in the World.
Are You Behind on Your State Sales Tax?

It Happens!
Did you know that the number one reason people get prosecuted in the State Courts for taxes is a sales tax violation? They call it grand theft, and for each month your report is in error or for each month you fail to file a sales tax return, you face a felony. That can add up real quick to time is State prison. It is easy to get behind. You have a small business. Times are tough. You collected the tax from customers but rent is due or there is some other pressing bill you just have to pay. This happens every day and before you know it, you are months or years behind. The Department of Revenue investigators will put you in jail for this. If you are behind or have been contacted by a State investigator, call us immediately. Do not try and talk your way out of your situation. It can land you in jail. We understand how you may have fallen behind but the State is often unsympathetic and comes down hard on people who have just fallen on tough times. We will represent you and try and keep the wolf from your door. Good people do make mistakes and problem solving is our business. Why do this alone get your records together and contact us. We have been doing this for years…

Paying Employees in Cash is a Problem

Attorney Peter D Aiken State and Federal Tax Defender 941-366-3506
Attorney Peter D Aiken
State and Federal
Tax Defender

We have a major problem in this country with undocumented workers. On the one hand, we need them.

This is particularly true when it comes to people in the lawn maintenance business. It is next to impossible to get employees who are willing to work in the heat. Most of the jobs are filled by undocumented aliens. This presents a major problem for the employer. On the one hand, he desperately needs the workers and is willing to pay them. On the other hand, they are undocumented, have no social security numbers and no way to cash checks, even if paid by check. Our immigration system is broken…no big news there.

We need to provide a method for workers to come here. Rather than pay a “coyote” to bring them here illegally, why not just pay an entry fee to the United States, get a work visa that is renewable every two years, get a tax identification card and allow people to work and provide for their families. As it stands, our insane immigration system makes tax criminals out of American business people who desperately need the workers.

It is a real problem for the small businessman to attempt to pay an “off the books” cash payroll. Many of the banks will report them for making large regular cash withdrawals. This will prompt an audit and can lead to criminal prosecution for employment tax fraud.

It can subject the small businessman to huge civil as well as criminal penalties.

As a criminal tax lawyer all too often I encounter taxpayers who would love to comply with the law but find it impossible to do so. Some people use “payroll services” that often turn a blind eye to phony social security numbers or identification. What we need is Immigration and Tax reform. If you are under audit and have paid an off the books payroll, contact a criminal lawyer before doing anything. If you have not been audited but are concerned you might be, and have employees “off the books”, you are at risk of criminal prosecution.
Our laws put many people between a rock and a hard place when it comes to complying. Do not put off finding a solution to this problem. Do not subject yourself to Federal prison for tax fraud. The laws will eventually change, but until they do, you have to find a way to comply.


The Tax Man Cometh…..With Handcuffs

Attorney Peter D Aiken
State and Federal
Tax Defender

April 15th 2016 is around the corner and if you did not file a return for last year, or years before that you may be afraid to file this year. Failure to file an income tax return is a Federal crime that can land you in Federal prison. Most of the time it is really not intentional. When the time comes to file, if you haven’t made your estimated tax payments, and are going to owe a bundle, you may be tempted not to file a return. Failure to file a tax return is a crime that repeats itself. Before you know it, you may be years behind. Most of the cases involve people who work for themselves and have small businesses or small corporations. Many people are in a cash business, have no employees, and the temptation is there. Over the years, I have represented doctors, lawyers and other professionals who simply got behind and did not know how to solve the problem. They are afraid that if they start filing, it will trigger an investigation into past years. I have represented boat captains, fishermen, farmers, lawn service businesses, detailers and other small businessmen who simply got way behind. This is particularly a problem for people who have hired illegals and paid them under the table. They cannot file because their payroll is in cash, paid to illegals and they cannot take the huge payroll deduction. They cannot file because their payroll is in cash, paid to illegals and they cannot take the huge payroll deduction. I once represented a 72 year old man who had never filed a return in his entire life.

How do I get caught up without going to jail?

Hiring a good criminal tax lawyer is a good start.

As a former IRS special agent and thirty year veteran criminal lawyer, I have represented many people and solved their problems without it ever coming to the attention of the IRS. It may be a matter of getting back tax returns prepared and filed. The IRS may be convinced to forego prosecution if they get their money and some penalties. Getting you back on the roles and up to date is a good start. If you already have been contacted by the criminal investigation division of the IRS, make no statement and call us immediately. Produce no records without talking to a good criminal lawyer experienced in defending tax crimes. Timing is critical. Do not wait until you get a letter from the Department of Justice that you are being indicted. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are “money driven” and if the amount of the tax owed is substantial, then Federal prison is called for. Do not wait until you are indicted. We may be able to come up with a plan to keep you from being charged.

Is Mortgage Fraud Alive and Well in Sarasota?


The Herald Tribune just ran an article on the explosion in “flipping” houses exposing the latest statistics on the house flipping here in Sarasota.

Many of the houses in foreclosure were purchased in short sales from Banks and then flipped at huge profits within hours or days. Does that sound familiar? Are there inside deals where bank officials are letting the houses go at bargain prices only to be flipped at huge profits within weeks. This is really suspicious when no improvements or renovations are done. Are the same players involved in these deals? The FBI will surely be looking into this as well as Federal bank regulators. The banks may or may not be losing money on these deals. If it was a Freddie Mac loan and they let it go on a short sale, the bank may recover their full loan value and lose nothing. Who then gets defrauded? The taxpayers as usual. That is what gives rise to FBI jurisdiction.
Over the years, as a criminal lawyer, I have defended brokers, buyers, sellers and others involved in mortgage fraud. Fraud may be involved when the loan is taken out. This is the typical fraud on what they called “liar loans” where the buyer falsifies the loan application. This is mostly a thing of the past and the lenders have closed this loophole. The other way fraud can occur is in the foreclosure process where inside deals are made. These inside deals may involve kickbacks but often are done for the benefit of friends and relatives. Once again the flipping is causing an inflated market on homes and running up prices making it tough for the average home owner. What else is new?
It is only a matter of time before the bubble bursts again and only a matter of time for the FBI to once again become involved. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it generally is. It will be interesting to see if the Herald Tribune article prompts the Feds to take a look.

Related articles


Flippers find a way

Breaking the Banks

Is It Time for Tax Reform in America?


How could anyone say no? With another election coming, our political hopefuls are all bragging about their tax plans.As a criminal tax lawyer and former IRS special agent, I can tell you that it is long overdue. Our tax system is in a state of dysfunction. The Internal Revenue Code is now so complex, that no one can fill out their own return without buying a computer program to decipher the myriad of rules and regulations. The time for meaningful tax reform is now. But it is not going to happen. The special interests have too strong of a lobby. The big corporations and the filthy rich get too many breaks. In America, for the last twenty years the rich have gotten richer and the poor, poorer.
An unfair tax system promotes cheating. Just like a totally unreasonable boss promotes embezzlement, an unreasonable government promotes tax evasion. The average citizen feels like he is being screwed by the IRS and feels like it justifies filing a false return, fudging on deductions or in some cases, simply not filing a tax return. Tax evasion is a symptom of a deeper underlying problem with our entire tax system. People cheat because they feel the system is not fair. Our tax system has become an income redistribution system. Most people feel the working class is taxed and the money is given to those that do not work, and at the top, the rich people pay nothing.
I personally feel that taxation is necessary. We have to have national defense. We have to have roads, flood control, education and health care. What we need is a fair tax and a simplified return. I once proposed that the tax return should be no more than two pages. On the front you declare your income, all of it, regardless of type. To that number the same tax rate is applied to everyone. Equal taxation, oh my god! On the back page you fill in how you want the money spent. You could have categories like “education”, “health care”, “national defense”, “Infrastructure” and “national emergencies”,
This would solve the other problem of how our elected officials spend the money. The budget would be real simple. The people decide how the money is spent when they file their returns, not some political hack. Most people would like to see how their money is really spent. Most people would not cheat on their income taxes or sales tax if there was meaningful reform. How about a national sales tax? How about a consumption tax? We have a screwed up system. You get taxed when you earn the money. You get taxed again is you don’t spend it and simply have it in a savings account. You get taxed again when you die and try and give it to your kids. Let’s make this simple. Tax it one time and tax it fairly.
For thirty years I have defended income tax cases in Federal Court and Sales tax cases in the State courts. The system is not fair. The best way to reduce tax evasion is to make the system fair and just. Let your elected officials know, if you can find them or reach them. It is time for a tax revolution in America. What we really have is “taxation without representation”