“Render unto Caesar,” people. I don’t like oppressively high taxes – or the politicians who perpetuate them. That’s why my news outlet has pushed for years lower punitively high income tax rates – and other anti-competitive levies. But just because South Carolina has a regressive, job-stifling tax code does not give people the right to cheat the system.
Tax fraud only escalates hardship for the rest of us … which is why I support enforcement measures against tax cheats.
Earlier this week, agents of the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) exercised their enforcement authority against 51-year-old Shelley Ann Rochester of Pacolet, S.C. According to a news release from the agency, Rochester is charged with eight counts of assisting in the preparation of false returns, six counts of tax evasion, and one count of furnishing false tax statements.
The end result of all those alleged crimes? A total of $475,721 in “fraudulent medical deductions for tax years 2016 through 2021 on behalf of herself or others.”
“The taxpayers whose returns were prepared by Rochester had no knowledge of the fraudulent returns and did not consent to them,” SCDOR’s release noted.
Which is probably one reason they weren’t charged in connection with this case …
Rochester owes the state of South Carolina $23,263 as a result of her alleged fraud, SCDOR noted, and could wind up paying tens of thousands of dollars in fines. She is also facing several years in prison.
Rochester was booked at the Alvin S. Glenn detention center in Columbia, S.C. on Thursday. Her case will be prosecuted by Allen Myrick in the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson.
“By taking enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers, (SCDOR) seeks to prevent unfairly increasing the tax burden on those who do comply,” the agency’s statement concluded.
Again, this news outlet is not in the business of defending big government in its routine pickpocketing of hard-working taxpayers … but as I have previously noted there is a big difference between clever accounting and outright theft.
SCDOR encourages anyone who knows or suspects individuals or businesses of committing state tax crimes – such as tax evasion or tax fraud – to submit a tax violation complaint form (.pdf) and email it here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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