AUSTIN, Texas —
In reality, there is not a federal stimulus benefit payment for low-income Social Security recipients. As a result, when the IRS discovers that the victim is not actually eligible for the tax refund, the federal government holds the victim responsible for repaying the entire amount of refund, plus penalties and interest. Since victims were unaware that Syam even filed a tax return on their behalf – much less retained a portion of the refund – most victims first learn they may be liable for the full amount of the fraudulent tax refund when they are contacted by the IRS. As a result, low-income Texans in the East Texas communities that Syam targeted have been left with a debt to the IRS that they cannot afford to repay, despite the fact that these victims thought they would financially benefit from a federal benefit to which they were told they were entitled. Further, because the victims provided Syam’s recruiters with their personal identifying and financial information, victims also face the risk of identity theft.
Based on the results of the investigation thus far, state investigators believe that Syam has filed hundreds of fraudulent tax returns, and may even attempt to use the same taxpayer information to file more fraudulent returns in future years. Thus, the Attorney General’s Office sought a temporary injunction and asset freeze to prevent Syam from continuing to violate state law. Today’s enforcement action charges Syam with multiple violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Texas Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act.