In The News: Back Taxes
Alana Tax Group’s lead tax expert, Svetlana Brontveyn (former attorney with TRS,) teamed up with ABC News Affiliate, KATU TV, to help an innocent man with a serious case of stolen identity and trouble with the IRS.
Salem man linked to cross country ID theft case - Click to Read More
One man, Eladio Lopez, is a modestly paid truck driver in New York, an American citizen born in the Bronx who supports a household of seven.
The other, Heladio Lopez, is a former construction worker in Salem who has been ripping off the New Yorker and his social security number, documents show.
And that’s a problem for the New Yorker, whom the IRS is going after for back taxes after income from both men has been going on the same IRS account for several years.
“Any day now, who knows, my bank accounts could be frozen,” the New Yorker said. “I got car notes, I got rent, I got a 17-year-old daughter, I got bills.”
Stumped, frustrated and in fear of the IRS bill that has already climbed to $13,000, the New Yorker hired a tax negotiation and mediation firm to fix the issue.
But the CEO of Tax Resolution Services said they keep getting “the runaround” from a number of authorities.
Salem police officials said it wasn’t their case because the victim is in New York while New York police said they couldn’t do much because it is a tax issue.
An IRS spokesman in Oakland said the agency doesn’t have enforcement authority when it comes to identity theft. Instead, IRS officials said it’s up to the Social Security Administration to investigate when a social security number is stolen.
And when Tax Resolution Services contacted the Salem construction company that employed Heladio Lopez, company officials said they could not help.
“It is not a matter of not wanting to cooperate with the authorities but rather a matter of abiding with the law and not release any information about any of our employees without prior written consent from the employees,” the company, Barry Bray Construction, wrote.
“It’s not just the frustration that he’s an illegal immigrant and on the run, it’s the fact that the companies that are legitimate American companies were not cooperating with us to investigate this matter, and to put a stop to it,” said Svetlana Brontveyn, an attorney with Tax Resolution Services.
Barry Bray told KATU that Heladio Lopez showed them proper identification when he was hired and that Bray had no idea the man might be illegal.
Bray said the company asked the worker about the social security number after the call from Tax Resolution Services, and, since that day, Heladio Lopez has not returned to work.
Heladio Lopez has also moved out of a Salem duplex and his phone goes to voice mail when called. However, KATU has learned he rents a post office box in Salem, so he’s out there somewhere.
As for Eladio Lopez, his attorneys think it will take several more months to convince the IRS he doesn’t owe the money.
“This guy made thousands under my name, literally thousands,” the New Yorker said. “Something needs to be done.”