Home Identity Theft Barbados National Claimed $120M in False Tax Refunds

Barbados National Claimed $120M in False Tax Refunds

Barbados National Claimed $120M in False Tax Refunds

Barbados National Claimed $120M in False Tax Refunds

In what is believed to be one of the largest tax fraud cases in Barbados’ history, a national was recently arrested for allegedly claiming $120 million in false tax refunds. This case highlights the need for robust tax compliance systems and the potential consequences of tax fraud.

The Allegations

The man is alleged to have created fake invoices and purchase orders for non-existent goods and services as part of a scheme to claim false tax refunds. The scheme is believed to have been ongoing for several years, and the man allegedly defrauded the government of $120 million.

The Impact of Tax Fraud

Tax fraud has serious consequences for governments and taxpayers alike. Fraudulent claims result in reduced tax revenues, which can lead to cuts in public services, higher taxes for law-abiding citizens, and a lack of faith in the tax system.

The Importance of Tax Compliance

Tax compliance is critical for maintaining an effective tax system. Governments must implement measures to ensure that taxpayers are aware of the tax laws and regulations and are submitting accurate tax returns. This includes requiring taxpayers to keep accurate records, ensuring that tax returns are subject to appropriate scrutiny, and imposing penalties for non-compliance and fraudulent activity.

Law Enforcement Response

The man involved in the case was arrested and charged with multiple counts of fraud and money laundering. If convicted, he could face significant fines and a lengthy term of imprisonment. The case is an example of the importance of law enforcement agencies working to uncover and prosecute fraudsters to deter others from engaging in similar activity.

Preventing Tax Fraud

To prevent tax fraud, governments must implement robust tax compliance systems. This includes educating taxpayers about their obligations and the consequences of non-compliance, utilizing technology to detect fraudulent activity quickly, and imposing stiff penalties for fraudulent activity.


The case of the Barbados national who claimed $120 million in false tax refunds highlights the importance of robust tax compliance systems. Fraudulent activity has severe consequences for governments and taxpayers, and law enforcement agencies must work to uncover and prosecute fraudsters to deter others from engaging in similar activity. By implementing effective tax compliance measures, governments can ensure that taxpayers are aware of their obligations and are submitting accurate tax returns, leading to a fair and sustainable tax system.

On November 7, 2012, the Department of Justice reported that Andrew J Watts was sentenced to 114 months in prison by US District Judge Joan Gottschall in Chicago.  He was also ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution for stealing identities and engaging in a federal income tax refund fraud scheme.  Watts is a Barbados national.

Court documents show that Watts filed the fraudulent federal income tax returns from 2007 to 2011.  He used the names of deceased taxpayers and forged their signatures to obtain the fraudulent refunds, and he even claimed himself as the deceased person’s representative in some cases.

In total, Watts filed more than 470 fraudulent federal income tax returns.  He is believed to have claimed about $120 million, and the Internal Revenue Service issued over $10 million in refunds.  In order to conceal the fraud, Watts instructed the IRS to send the refund checks to an electronic deposit or an address he controlled.

Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, stated: “While all taxpayers are victims when criminals file false tax returns using stolen identities, those who falsely use the names of deceased individuals add to the grief and burdens of their families.”

Watts pleaded guilty on July 10, 2012, and he pleaded to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of mail fraud.

IRS-Criminal Investigation Chief Richard Weber noted: “IRS-Criminal Investigation has made investigating refund fraud and identity theft a top priority and we will vigorously pursue those who undermine the integrity of the U.S. tax system.  Individuals who commit refund fraud and identity theft of this magnitude deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick J. King, Jr. with the Northern District of Illinois and Trial Attorney Michelle Petersen with the Department of Justice’s Tax Division were in charge of prosecution.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice