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Rhode Island Employee Retention Tax Credit Fraud Defense Attorneys

Have you recently received a criminal target letter from the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island indicating that you are the target of a criminal investigation by the Internal Revenue Service? Or have you or a loved one been charged by a grand jury indictment in Rhode Island for Employee Retention Tax Credit Fraud? The Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm's team of Rhode Island Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys can help defend you on ERTC charges and ensure that your rights are protected. We are already representing clients charged with similar ERTC offenses and have the skills and experience to help you navigate extremely serious federal ERTC criminal charges. Speak with one of our Rhode Island federal criminal defense attorneys 24/7 at 401-228-8271.

Federal criminal charges of Employee Retention Tax Credit Fraud are currently being prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice as violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 286 (conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims). The penalties for violating this section include imprisonment for up to ten years and substantial fines, reflecting the severity of the offense and the amount of fraud involved. Additionally, the court may order the defendant to pay restitution to the government for the losses incurred due to the fraudulent claims. The IRS has recently halted new ERC claim processing due to a surge of questionable claims, and FinCEN has issued alerts highlighting the prevalence of ERTC fraud. The exact penalties depend on the specifics of the case, such as the amount of money involved in the fraud and whether the individual has prior convictions.

ERTC Fraud Defense Lawyers

Given the severe penalties and complexities involved in cases of Employee Retention Tax Credit Fraud, it is crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The legal landscape surrounding federal charges is intricate, and having a seasoned attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. At Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm, our team of Rhode Island Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys is well-equipped to defend you against ERTC charges, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Don't face these serious federal charges alone—speak with one of our Rhode Island federal criminal defense attorneys 24/7 at 401-228-8271.

Understanding the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) was introduced as part of the CARES Act to help businesses retain employees during the economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. It offered substantial financial incentives to qualifying businesses, but with these benefits came a heightened risk of fraud allegations. Rhode Island businesses need to be aware of what constitutes ERTC fraud, the key features of the program, eligibility criteria, and how to defend against potential fraud charges.

What Is ERTC Fraud?

ERTC fraud occurs when businesses intentionally misrepresent information to qualify for the credit. This can involve:

  • Falsifying Eligibility: Claiming the credit for periods when the business did not meet the eligibility criteria.

  • Inflating Wages: Overstating employee wages to increase the credit amount.

  • Duplicate Claims: Submitting claims for the same employees under multiple programs or entities.

Key Features of the ERTC Program

Understanding the ERTC program's features is crucial for compliance and defense against fraud allegations:

  • Eligibility Periods: The ERTC was available for specific periods during 2020 and 2021. Businesses needed to demonstrate a significant decline in gross receipts or full or partial suspension of operations due to government orders.

  • Credit Amount: The credit amount varied, covering up to 50% of qualified wages paid in 2020 and up to 70% in 2021, with maximum caps per employee.

  • Interaction with Other Relief Programs: Businesses could not double-dip by claiming the same wages for both ERTC and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness.

Eligibility Criteria for Rhode Island Businesses

Rhode Island businesses needed to meet specific criteria to qualify for the ERTC:

  • Significant Revenue Decline: A decline of at least 50% in gross receipts in a 2020 quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019, or a decline of 20% in 2021.

  • Operational Impact: Full or partial suspension of operations due to governmental orders during the pandemic.

  • Qualified Wages: Wages paid to employees during eligible periods, including certain health care costs.

Fraud Concerns and Legal Implications

As the ERTC program attracted scrutiny from the IRS and other federal agencies, fraudulent claims can lead to severe consequences, including:

  • Fines and Penalties: Significant financial penalties for improper claims.

  • Repayment of Credits: Requirement to repay any fraudulently obtained credits.

  • Criminal Charges: Potential for criminal charges leading to imprisonment.

Defending Against ERTC Fraud Allegations

If you are an individual or Rhode Island business is facing ERTC fraud allegations, a robust defense strategy is essential. Here are key elements of a defense:

  1. Challenging the Evidence: Carefully reviewing and challenging the evidence presented by the prosecution.

  2. Good Faith Errors: Demonstrating that any errors were made in good faith, not with fraudulent intent.

  3. Comprehensive Documentation: Providing detailed documentation showing efforts to comply with ERTC requirements.

  4. Legal Interpretation: Arguing that the interpretation of eligibility and claims was reasonable given the complex and evolving guidelines.

Why You Need an Experienced ERTC Fraud Defense Lawyer

ERTC fraud cases are complex, requiring a deep understanding of both tax law and criminal defense. An experienced lawyer can:

  • Analyze Your Case: Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the allegations against you.

  • Develop a Defense Strategy: Craft a tailored defense strategy based on the specifics of your case.

  • Negotiate with Authorities: Work with federal and state authorities to potentially reduce charges or penalties.

  • Represent You in Court: Provide robust representation should your case go to trial.

Facing Federal ERTC fraud charges in Rhode Island is a serious matter that requires immediate and skilled legal intervention. By understanding the nature of the charges, potential consequences, and available defenses, individuals and Rhode Island businesses can take the necessary steps to protect their interests. Contact a qualified Rhode Island Federal ERTC fraud defense lawyer to ensure you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm

If you are under investigation or facing charges brought by the United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island related to ERTC fraud in Rhode Island, contact our office today for a confidential consultation. The seasoned federal defense attorneys at the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm will meet with you to confidentially discuss the details of your case, explore any legal or constitutional defenses available.  Contact us today at 401-228-8271 for a no-obligation Federal ERTC fraud defense strategy session.

Kensley Barrett

Our law firm was founded on the belief that working with us is more than just hiring a lawyer. Working with us will bring you peace of mind and also allow you to continue with your regular life while we attend to your legal matters. Our vast experience means that it allows us to excel in both aggressively representing your interests and generating the best possible result for you.