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Tax Scams and How the IRS Caught Scofflaws

Promised that they would be able to keep their homes, the victimized homeowners instead lost the titles to their homes, suffering losses when the straw buyers failed to make loan payments and the new loans went into default. Lenders were often unable to foreclose because the buyers didn't even know the properties were in their names.

Restaurants

Given the frequent dealing in cash, it should come as no surprise that the IRS has a steady caseload regarding the restaurant industry

In 2009, the IRS opened 116 investigations, leading to 40 prison sentences.

On April 15, 2009, in Panama City, Fla., Paul Gregory Francis, of Mexico Beach, Fla., was sentenced to 41 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay over $2 million in restitution to the IRS. He pleaded guilty to six counts of tax evasion, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of possession of methamphetamine.

According to the IRS, Francis failed to file individual tax returns for himself and corporate tax returns for Toucan's Restaurant from 2005 to 2007. He also acknowledged that he skimmed more than $1.2 million in cash from the restaurant.

-- Reported by Joe Mont in Boston.

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