Russian Con-Artist Faked “File Free” Tax Return Websites, Stole Refunds

Marketing experts say that there are few words as powerful to persuade as “free.” One enterprising scamster took that concept and ran with it to steal unsuspecting taxpayers’ tax refunds.

While living in sunny San Diego, Maxim Maltsev of Russia, blended the persuasive power of the word “free” with the fact that the IRS has a free electronic tax return filing program, and harnessed the awesome reach of the Internet, to steal tax refunds owed to ordinary taxpayers, looking to get their returns prepared and filed as quickly, easily and cheaply as possible.

Maltsev admitted in federal court in California that he was part of a conspiracy to obtain federal income tax returns requesting refunds before they were electronically filed with the IRS.

The success of the scheme depended upon taxpayers being fooled into using apparently free electronic tax return filing services which were, in fact, fake.

Continue reading