Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, June 10, 2013

Philidor: IRS verifies identifying information before issuing refunds

In U.S. v. Philidor, No. 13-13679 (May 29, 2013), the Court rejected the argument that the government failed to prove that the fraudulent tax return filing offense involved more than 250 victims and therefore qualified for a sentence enhancement under USSG § 2B1.1(b)(2)(C).

The Court noted that the defendants’ bank statements listed over 250 Social Security numbers of recipients of tax refunds. The district court could infer “based on common sense and ordinary human experience” that the Internal Revenue Service verifies identifying information, like Social Security numbers, before issuing a tax refund. Consequently, the refunds were associated with real people. In addition, the district court did not need to find that the persons were living, because the Guideline does not distinguish between living and deceased persons.