Facebook Leads to Man’s Arrests After 21 Years for False Information on a Tax Return (26 United States Code 7207)

You’ve probably been warned before now about the dangers of placing personal information and photographs on social media sites like Facebook.  Over the past several years, members of various professions have been fired over their Facebook posts and others have experienced unsettling consequences for their private relationships.  It’s rare for someone to be arrested because of their Facebook account, yet this is exactly what happened to a San Francisco man (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused), former head of Mission Childcare Consortium in San Francisco, who has been on the run since 1992 (21 years).  He evidently fled to Canada before his sentencing hearing, which was scheduled for January of 1993.  According to authorities, he’s been in London, Ontario all this time. Now, he’s been extradited on his original charges: that of having filed false tax returns.

26 United States Code 7207 makes it a federal crime to offer false information on a tax return.  Prosecutors must be able to prove that you did it willingly, however, that you knew that the information you gave was materially incorrect.  If convicted (as he was after having pled guilty), you could face a $250,000 fine and possibly be imprisoned for 1 year in a federal facility.  Interestingly, it doesn’t matter whether or not you paid your debt to the IRS; it’s the fact that you falsified information that is the key element of this crime.  This just goes to show how easily anything you post on social media sites can be used against you, even in a court of law!