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Criminal Justice Update

OPOTA course targets white collar crime

While many of us hope for good news from the IRS this time of year, a Louisiana tax preparer went on trial for filing false tax refund claims using the names and Social Security numbers of nursing home residents.

Convicted in Baton Rouge in early March, the woman was found guilty of making false claims, subscribing to false tax returns, aggravated identity theft, and wire fraud. Prosecutors also proved the woman lied on her own federal income tax returns by failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax preparation fees that she used to buy an RV and make a $50,000 investment.
Stolen identity refund fraud, or SIRF, is among several topics assistant U.S. attorneys and an IRS agent will cover in White Collar Crimes for State, County and Municipal Law Enforcement, a free course the Attorney General’s Ohio Peace Office Training Academy will offer in late April and mid-May.
The training provides an overview of federal white collar crimes, including investor fraud, identity theft, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and consumer fraud. Presenters will discuss how federal and state white collar crimes overlap.
Robert Patton, an assistant U.S. attorney with the Northern District of Ohio’s Major Fraud and Corruption Unit, said many white collar crimes can be prosecuted at the federal level provided proceeds top $120,000. And while that threshold isn’t always reached within one jurisdiction, through collaboration, charges can be brought with the involvement of multiple agencies.
The course will be offered twice:
  • April 25, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., OPOTA Course 53-698-3-01, at OPOTA Richfield
  • May 15, 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., OPOTA Course 03-698-13-01, at Owens Community College, Law Enforcement and Fire Science Bldg., Room 145/147, 30335 Oregon Road, Perrysburg, OH.
Interested officers can register online at or fill out the registration form at