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I have a cousin that convinced my parents that there was an IRS Levy against property they owned that she wanted to get her hands on. There was an IRS Lien NOT a Levy against their property as a result of declining business at their local restaurant that they owned and operated for 17 years. If the stress of owing money to the IRS wasn't enough, they became even more vulnerable after this business was destroyed by a fire caused by 100+ year old electrical wiring. She definitely used their vulnerable frame of minds to her advantage. This cousin of mine was my dad's niece, they never had any reason to not trust that she was telling them the truth. She convinced them to sell her property located on Bois Blanc Island that my parents had owned for years for about 1/3 of its value. The fact is that they would have NEVER sold this property to anyone as it holds tremendous sentimental value to my parents children and only grandchild. She convinced them that if they didn't sell the property to her by a specific date (which I have in writing from the deceitful cousin) that the IRS would seize the property and sell it to the highest bidder. She persuaded them into selling it to her by telling them that this was the best thing for our family, as it would keep it at least within the family, and she also told them that their children and granddaughter would be able to use it whenever they wanted to. Feeling this was better than losing the property to strangers, they agreed to sell the property to her.

They have since contacted the cousin on numerous occasions requesting the documentation she claimed to have in her possesion stating that unless a substantial payment was received by the IRS the property would be seized and sold. These requests have gone unanswered, which leads us all to believe that she did in fact fabricate the entire story.

We feel that she defrauded them out of the property she wanted by pressuring them with losing the property with information that was not true, as there is a very big difference between an IRS Lien vs IRS Levy. Do we stand a chance of getting this sacred piece of "heaven on earth" back?

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Jonas, perhaps you should join Snowden in exile; the two of you would compliment each other's treason.
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Wow Jonas. What insight! That comment is certainly bound to help many of us on this site. Enjoy Singapore and don't come back to the land of freedom of speech.
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No, no one owes money to the IRS. You do not "owe" money to a mugger so you do not owe money to the Irresponsible Rotten Scum.
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VegasLady, I've found your insights into the issues very helpful and an educational experience.

And I fully support your caution to the OP not to write a book. She should have documented everything but to publish would be one of the worst things she could do, especially since the cousin could well learn of it and institute an action for libel and/or slander and/or character defamation.

As to the actual process of what happened, the OP should get the tax ID (Sidwell) from her parents' tax bills, contact a title company and ask for a foreclosure search or other thorough search which reflects the history of actions affecting the property. A commitment doesn't provide that detail. If she still needs to know more about the IRS actions and release, a foreclosure search will help reveal those actions. But she should explain to the title company what her interests are as there may be additional ways to get the data she seeks.

She could also contact the county register of deeds or go to the county offices and research the issues herself. Whatever liens or levies were filed would be reflected.

And as to fraud, a critical element of proof is the INTENT to commit fraud. The cousin could easily argue that she was simply helping out the family.
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I'd bet 100 to 1 that the District Attorney, if ever provided a full account of the situation, never does a thing. A good way to put off having to deal with someone so emotionally involved is to send them off with the task of putting all the data together and essentially build the case for them. How often do you think that a pulled together report ever gets presented to a DA? Especially when the OP doesn't have the support of the immediate family (child and siblings). It's more than time to let it go. A book would even make it worse.
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Wow! You’ve certainly done a great job by posting this bit of information for the benefit of us viewers. It’s so great to know that the Internet is not a dumb place after all.
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Good luck with your case and the Prosecuting Attorney. Let us know how it all turns out down the line.
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I really do appreciate the knowledge you've shared, vegaslady...I would agree with your words if the story ended here, but we have significant evidence that proves she did it with the intent to defraud my parents - she duped them into believing that she was doing this for their own good! The truth is that her actions and words all prove otherwise!! As far as a mediator...I have an uncle that volunteered to try and help us discover just exactly how this entire nightmare went down, however, after his initial conversation with the other party, he informed me, very politely, that this was a much more stressfully difficult situation than he and my aunt had bargained for, and asked to be removed from the entire serious kerfuffle...this spoke volumes...if it were just a slight misunderstanding that could be ironed out, he wouldn't have opted out - as well as, if he thought we were all barking up the wrong tree he would have advised us to not waste our time.

I feel that the Prosecuting Attorney's interest in our case is promising, I don't believe he would have asked for detailed facts if he felt it was just a case of a "bad deal"...
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The Revenue Officer could make the decision by his/herself to see the property that would be seized. If I think I would have to seize and sell it I would have gone to look at the property. Evaluating the asset for seizure is different than talking to the taxpayer. I wouldn't consider that a wild goose chase if it was the property I wanted to see. (For example, does the property have saleable timber, the condition of the buildings, etc. It's easier if you really know what you're selling, maybe get some pictures and you can't get the right info just off the legal description.). If the RO wanted to talk to your parents, you're right, going to the house or business would be typical, usually unannounced ahead of time. I'm guessing that the RO did contact your parents. I'm not sure what type of documents you think the IRS person would have left with your cousin. It doesn't sound like the property was ever seized by the IRS and therefore no such documents relating to a seizure were ever sent or left with anyone. Since the NFTL is a public document filed at the county, so what that means could be discussed. It seems very unlikely that a relative would have been told of a due date for a payment for somebody else. That wouldn't have been her business, nor would the amount needed to prevent seizure. There is a case history with the IRS of the actions to collect the taxes, but would be a bit of a pain in the a•• to get it. (Parents would probably need to file a Freedom of Information request and pay for it.). I'm thinking that the cousin got wind of your parents tax problems and took advantage of it. I'm guessing your parents owned the business as a sole proprietorship and since it wasn't going so well that they didn't owe personal income tax. What is more likely is that they owed payroll taxes on the employees wages. The IRS definitely wants to collect those because the employees are getting credit on THEIR taxes for the income tax and Social Security taxes that were withheld and not paid bt the employer. So it does get paid in but the government doesn't hold that against the employee who never even knows....they still get their refund and credit for Social Security and Medicare coverage. Overall it will be hard to prove fraud on the part of the cousin IMHO because it sounds to me like your parents, if competent, just made a bad deal. They didn't get a clause in the sale that allowed the family's ongoing use of the property, they took too little money for it, they got themselves in financial trouble and generally made some bad decisions. Most of that is not the fault if the cousin. It is possible that your parents got confused, stressed out, and now feel victimized. Is there a way to smooth over the anger and come to a different resolution other than pursuing a criminal case? Is there some type of family mediation program in your area that could help work things out?
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Another thought...the IRS could have easily made a trip to my parents primary residence or their place of business and they would have most definitely been able to locate and speak to them, so why would they send someone on what could, and at most times of the year, would have been a 300 mile wild goose chase?
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I'm getting a little confused because some of what you're saying doesn't agree with what I have read on the IRS's official website.

You're saying that it is possible that an IRS official traveled 300 miles away from my parents primary residence and place of business, paid the fees to transport them and their vehicle via ferry boat to the island, find my parents place and then leave the legal IRS documents regarding their visit which would have been addressed to my parents, with someone other than my parents?

If no one was there, would they have left the IRS documentation posted on the door? If they went to the trouble to find the place, wouldn't they have left some sort of documentation that should have made its way to my parents via the evil cousin?

You said that maybe my cousin was told "probably inappropriately" that the property was going to be seized and sold - does that mean that they told her that officially there was currently a "lien" on the property, and that if something wasn't done in a timely fashion that it would then be seized and sold? Would they have given her a definite final date for payment, either verbally or in writing?

Thank you so much for trying to help me to understand what actually happened...little by little some of the pieces may be coming together...
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It is quite possible that an IRS Revenue Officer would travel that distance to try and find your parents. In Alaska the ROs sometimes have to travel by small hired planes to small villages to reach people. Sometimes they have to watch out for bears between the landing site, garbage dump and the location of their field call. The government pursues taxes around the world, not just where you might think. But, I digress. About the Form 1058....that is a Final Demand warning that a levy may be issued. If a levy is issued you get a copy of the levy that was issued by regular mail. You don't get a certified copy of a notice of levy. The same goes for the filing of a NFTL ( Notice of Federal Tax Lien) you don't get a certified copy of that either. Basically after you've been warned by certified mail of what could happen, it can then start to happen with notice of the actions by regular mail. If the IRS had taken possession of the property your parents would have received a Notice of Seizure, not levy. IF the property was seized and later released they would have gotten a notice of the release. I doubt if the property was ever seized....liened yes, seized no. The sale of the property saved them that experience. Since the purchase involved a mortgage it's most likely that a title company handled paperwork. How about looking at their file? The cousin may actually have been contacted in person at the property. It is possible that she was told (probably inappropriately) that this property was going to be seized and sold. That may not have been a lie. Cutting a deal that was such an advantage to her, not so nice.
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We feel that the most important evidence we have against this cousin is that she boldly lied to my parents to get them to sell her the property. She made them believe that the IRS had issued a LEVY, claiming that the IRS needed to receive a substantial amount of money towards the taxes owed by April 16th, 2012 or they would start proceedings to seize and auction the property. My parents knew there was a LIEN against the property, but they never received an IRS Form 1058 via certified mail, which as I understand from the IRS's website is how my parents would have been notified, if in fact a levy was issued. Their website also indicates that all certified correspondence would have been sent to my parents primary address - my parents did not receive any certified notification of an IRS levy being placed against any of their properties. We find it hard to believe that the IRS would travel 300 miles north and pay to take their vehicle across on the ferry, in hopes of catching my parents at a home that they should have been able to tell was a secondary/vacation home, as this is how my cousin claims she was notified by the IRS. She has been asked on numerous occasions to surrender whatever notification she received from the IRS on my parents behalf, and she produces nothing!

I have a copy of the form that the IRS used to release this property and it very clearly states, "Released From IRS Lien" - if in fact there was a levy against the property wouldn't the form have stated "Released From IRS Levy"?
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dads....You maybe able to private message LV lady if her settings allow...... click on her name and see if private message is enabled
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Good Morning Vegaslady -
I don't sleep real well these days, this whole mess is very disturbing. I wish we could do an instant chat, there are so many more disheartening aspects to this transaction that's it's hard for me to paint a clear picture for you without writing a book. But I'm going to try...
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Thanks. Let's see if I've got this right...after the building fire there was insurance and the IRS levied, or was planning to levy, the insurance company for the proceeds. I'm not clear if it was paid or not, and if paid it must not have paid the taxes in full. Now when the cousin sets up the deal to buy the property, and the lien is on the property, if the remaining taxes were to be paid full the IRS would be happy to collect the money and move on to the next case. However, if the sale of the property did NOT pay the taxes off in full, someone, typically the buyer, applies for a "discharge" of the tax lien. The IRS investigates the value of the property and the priorities of claims on the proceeds, and issues the discharge in exchange for the amount of equity that the lien attaches to. Then the buyer gets the property clear of the lien. Are the taxes now completely paid off? If the IRS is still owed money and got too little money out of the sale because somebody doctored the appraisal and didn't disclose the relationship between buyer and seller there may be a problem. The fraud involved in taxes is usually the delinquent taxpayer evading payment. Because the property was sold for (apparently) less than Fair Market Value and if the result was the IRS got shorted then the IRS might be interested in pursuing fraud, if enough money is involved. If the taxes are paid off the IRS could care less. Your "remedies" to the apparent scam of getting the property on the sly are what you have already started to work. Hope this isn't too confusing. Let me know.
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I sincerely apologize, vegaslady, I did not see your comment before I made my last reply...my comment about inaccuracies certainly was not directed at you! My reason for spending any time sharing my personal dilemma on forums such as this, was to hopefully stumble upon someone like you that could maybe give me a little insight as to what I'm facing - I needed a little positive reinforcement to push me to see this through to the end. If I were battling a total stranger, believe me I wouldn't be looking for any additional courage, the fact that I am looking to prosecute a cousin that I grew up with and would have trusted with my life, makes this just a bit difficult!

I know, and I can prove that the actions of my cousin to obtain this property were definitely premeditated. She knowingly set out to obtain possession of this property via undue influence and/or fraud - she duped them into parting with this property by convincing them that it was for their own good! I have all of the lies that she told in black and white via a personal chat that we had regarding this matter.

My family is hoping to regain possession of the property by pressing fraud charges, they also feel very strongly about her spending some time locked away, as she is a very twisted woman that destroyed my family with her selfishness and greed. The Prosecuting Attorney in our county has already expressed interest in our case and I'm working diligently to finalize the statement he needs to go forward. The level of family betrayal that we've endured is paralyzing at times...we'll all be so relieved to get to the bottom of this and put it behind us!

I'm so thankful that you noticed and responded to my thread, any insight you could share would be greatly appreciated!!
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I worked for an elderlaw attorney for over 11 years. I cannot tell you how common this is. It is very important for all of us to have conversations with our elderly parents to let them know that they should not do anything, sell, transfer, land, money, property without consulting the family or POA. It is important to keep in touch with parents and talk about money, end of life matters etc. several visits a year are best as you cannot always know the situation over the phone.
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I'm not sure who you are referring to as to the inaccuracies of their statement. If you think family members were defrauded I still think that one of the least productive things to do is write a book about your family. Why don't you go about setting right the wrong, and THEN write your book. At the rate you're going it sounds like Madoff will be out of prison before you get the issue you are concerned about handled. If you want your cousin to go to prison get on it. Otherwise if there are only civil actions to be taken and you can't afford the cost of representation and can't do it yourself, give it up. Your parents could contact the count to get copies of the Notice of Federal Tax Lien and the release. Or contact the IRS, I would suggest the Taxpayers Advocates office if they want help in understanding what happened in their tax situation. If you have questions or comments on IRS liens and levies I can answer in general.
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I give up, I don't have the time to tackle that reply...if you're going to give someone advice you really should know what you're talking about, or do some research first, as some may be very disturbed by your inaccuracies.

As for the Madoff scandal...I believe he IS sitting in prison because he DEFRAUDED people, period!! Whether or not he was able to repay the money had nothing to do with his sentencing. FRAUD is a very serious crime, especially when it's committed against the elderly!
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I have to agree with vegaslady, they were overwhelmed, didn't know what to do, and decided to keep the property in the family if the cousin agreed to pay off the IRS. Unfortunately, Dads, for whatever reason, didn't offer to bail out his parents with this plan. Maybe he didn't think of it, maybe he didn't have the resources. Water over the dam now.
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BTW,I am a retired Revenue Officer for the IRS and have seized and sold plenty of real and personal property in my time.
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Good grief. First, if you expect someone to be prosecuted, don't wait to write a book about it. Second, do they still owe the IRS taxes? If no, then the IRS was paid in full and any liens or levys would have been released (apparently from the le y on the insurance proceeds). Was there even a lien filed in the county where the property was located? To apply to real property it has to be filed in the right place. Was the tax due from the individuals or from their incorporated business? Those are different tax identities. If a corp owed the taxes the lien would not apply to property owned by the individuals. The Notice of Federal Tax Lien is a public document filed in an appropriate place. You can locate it in county records. Also, when it is paid off, a release of the lien is filed, again as a public record. If taxes were still owed and a lien filed in the right place then a discharge of the lien is requested from the IRS, and granted if the money to be paid is right. If the relative scammed them out of the property for less than full value you would have to show that they didn't mean to sell for that.. Pretty hard to do if they are competent and were just overwhelmed at the time and made a bad decision.
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Dads, If you recall the Madoff scandal, there was fraud because people gave him money and got $0000 in return. She will not go to jail if she sells the property back. If you think the judge will order her to return the property without a refund, you may be very disappointed. If your parents cannot pay the total amount back to her, she will get to keep it. This is simple business law, no refund, no item returned.
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SHE COMMITTED FRAUD!!!!!!!! I believe she'll be prosecuted for FRAUD...she will return what she stole and serve a little time behind bars...
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So the simple solution is for her to sell it back to them for the price and whatever capital improvements the cousin made, for example the roof. However, your parents no longer have the funds. Now what? Does anyone have that much money?
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It was not a quick claim deed...the cousin took out a mortgage on her home and paid my parents the ridiculous price stated in the bogus appraisal...this money went right to the IRS and the lien was removed from the property. My parents gave her the authority to deal with the IRS as there was no sense in them being the middle man, they were to distraught over the IRS debt, the fire and losing something that meant the world to their children. I believe that when my cousin talked to the IRS to work out her plan, that in the initial conversation she was told that there was currently a lien on the property and that if the debt was not satisfied, that eventually they would issue a levy that would only allow a certain amount of time before the property would be seized and auctioned to the highest bidder. The way my cousin explained it to my parents was that there was CURRENTLY a levy and that they had to have a sizeable payment to the IRS before April 16th, 2012 or it would absolutely be seized and sold. That is where she committed the fraud, that deadline was a bold faced lie that she told them (and I DO have this in writing) to make them want to sell the property to her. The next lie she told was that by selling it to her my Dad's family would still be able to use it (this too I have in writing)! She knew that by the property staying "in the family", and holding the IRS at bay with the money from the sale, my parents would go for it...and they did!!!! The ink wasn't even dry on the contract before she sent them a letter stating that NO ONE was going to be allowed to use the place....lie after lie, after lie, after lie!!!!! If she would have done the right thing and told the IRS about the fire, as she claimed that all she wanted to do was help the family (yeah, right), everything could have stayed just as it was, because the fire put the brakes on any further action from the IRS because they knew they would get their money from the insurance claim. She could have continued to use it whenever she wanted to (other than the few weeks a year that my family would be there) just as she has done for years and my family wouldn't have been shattered into a million pieces! Losing the property was back enough...but to have my parents defrauded by a relative that for years prior was at their beck and call whenever they needed anything, was just absolutely devastating...
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The IRS never lets go, a freeze just means they will get to it later. Your cousin paid 1/3 of the value, but did she pay the lien? If she bought it on a simple quit claim deed, the lien would still be there. So she will have to pay the IRS. I'm not sure it's worth going after. Add up the numbers before you go after it. You may be looking at a financial black hole.
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There was insurance to cover the fire loss, however, not enough to rebuild. Once the IRS learned of the fire, the liens that had been placed on their other properties became frozen and no further action was taken by the IRS as they would receive the money my parents owed from funds received from the insurance payout. So you see, our island home that she was hell-bent on getting, would have also been released from the IRS lien to my parents, once they paid the back taxes owed

My cousin was very disgruntled a few years ago when she learned that my parents would never sell that home to anyone...she realized that she would have to fabricate something to ever realize her dream of making it her home, so she did just that! She's definitely a stupid criminal...should have done her homework regarding how much trouble she could get into by scaring an elderly couple into selling them property by intentionally giving them false information. I have a feeling that in the upcoming months it's going to suck to be her...all I can say is "KARMA"!
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There could have been insurance on the property? Or did they let that lapse? I wish you well in all of this.......
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