Friday, August 15, 2014

IRS issuing refund pursuant to fraudulent tax return does not support jury instruction on entrapment by estoppel

U.S. v. Rampton, 2014 WL 3882564 (8/8/14) (Ut.) (Published) - Ms. Rampton was not entitled to an entrapment-by-estoppel instruction. She was involved in a 1099-OID tax-return scheme. She contended that the refund check from the IRS validated her belief that her scheme was legit because it was just a way to get money like the banks were getting. Ms. Rampton did not satisfy the estoppel requirement that her reliance be reasonable. This requirement was necessary because otherwise the "Ill-educated and the naive" would be able to get away with all those tax refunds, while educated folks would get convicted. In this case Ms. Rampton fabricated the forms and provided false information, such as that more than $200,000 had been withheld to cover her income taxes. No one would reasonably infer the IRS audited her forms for accuracy, discovered her deceit and still decided she was due a refund. And besides, she knew the IRS told a friend of hers doing the same thing that the scheme was bogus.