Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.
Tax refunds – As the tax-filing deadline approaches, the Internal Revenue Service said consumers should watch out for scam artists who offer to help them obtain tax refunds through the filing of bogus returns. In one common scheme, companies offer to help victims obtain a tax refund through the American Opportunity Tax Credit by claiming deductions for college tuition payments, even if the victim did not attend college during the tax period, the IRS said. In recent weeks, the IRS has stopped thousands of bogus refund claims using that fraudulent deduction. Even if someone else files the return, taxpayers can be held liable for submitting false deductions, including penalties and interest, the IRS said.
Christian rock concerts – A Downey woman who told investors she was raising money for a Christian rock concert but instead used the money for personal expenses and to pay returns to early investors has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison. Lauren Baumann pleaded guilty in October to wire fraud, admitting she falsely promised to use investors’ money to finance a Christian "battle of the bands," and repay them with profits from ticket sales. Instead, authorities said, Baumann used proceeds from the scheme to rent a $10,000-a-month historic mansion in Downey and to pay private-school tuition for her children. U.S. District Judge Josephine S. Tucker sentenced Baumann to 57 months in prison. She was ordered to report to a federal prison by April 2 to begin serving her sentence.