About the Law

Criminal Statutes Most Frequently Used by IRS

Over the years, Congress has enacted thousands of criminal laws. Within certain limits, this means that federal investigative agencies and prosecutors can -- and frequently do -- charge individual defendants with violating numerous different laws. A taxpayer who has sought to cheat the government can be charged with knowingly filing an incorrect return. In recent years, however, if the circumstances warrant, the same taxpayer also might be charged with money laundering. Similarly, an organized crime figure might be charged with various drug crimes, numerous organized crime and conspiracy charges and in some situations even tax violations.

During the data collection process, the Justice Department asks the prosecutors to select the "lead charge" on all criminal referrals they process. Obviously, these judgements often are somewhat subjective when multiple serious violations are involved. On other occasions, the judgements may by influenced by the political needs of the moment: an administration, for example, that wants to show the public it is concentrating on such subjects as organized crime or threats to the nation's internal security.

Here then, as view through the lens of federal prosecutors across the country, are that statutes most frequently cited as being the "lead charge" in the referrals coming from the IRS. The laws are presented in the order of their statute numbers. The complete text of these frequently cited statutes can be viewed by selecting the particular law of interest in the following table.

Click on Statute to View Text

U.S. Code Description
 18 USC 00287 False, fictitious or fraudulent claims
 18 USC 00371 Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
 18 USC 00641 Public money, property or records
 18 USC 00666 Theft or bribery in programs receiving Fed funds
 18 USC 01028 Fraud and related activity - id documents
 18 USC 01343 Fraud by wire, radio, or television
 18 USC 01344 Bank Fraud
 18 USC 01349 Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy
 18 USC 01956 Laundering of monetary instruments
 21 USC 00841 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A
 26 USC 07201 Attempt to evade or defeat tax
 26 USC 07202 Willful failure to collect or pay over tax
 26 USC 07206 Fraud and False statements
 31 USC 05324 Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir

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