Around 180 Justice Department Tax Division attorneys, support staff and agents from the Internal Revenue Service were honored Monday for their work against tax evasion and growing threats such as stolen identity refund fraud.
“Today’s Tax Division is firmly committed to bringing to justice all those who would take advantage of their fellow citizens for personal gain,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole said at the ceremony Monday afternoon at DOJ headquarters, the Robert F. Kennedy building in Washington, D.C.
The division has a success rate in civil litigation and prosecutions exceeding 95 percent, Cole said, with every taxpayer dollar spent by the division leading to about $13 paid into the federal treasury.
Every year, the division has approximately 6,000 civil cases and 1,300 to 1,800 criminal prosecutions, according to Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March to lead the division.
In all, the department includes around 370 attorneys and an administrative staff of 150 individuals who enforce the federal tax code with assistance from other agencies.
“We work closely with our colleagues at the IRS to respond to ongoing challenges such as tax shelters and offshore banking,” Keneally said, “as well as to develop strategies for responding to new challenges, most notably, the epidemic of stolen identity refund fraud.”
Keneally said the department’s mission is to prosecute offenders on behalf of citizens who comply with the system and to be sure that tax enforcement is consistent for everyone across the country.
In addition to honoring staff from around the country, Keneally honored the event’s emcee, John DiCicco — currently principal deputy assistant attorney general and deputy assistant attorney general for policy and planning — for 35 years of service prior to an upcoming retirement celebration.
DiCicco led the Tax Division for two years before Keneally’s confirmation.
The award ceremony, which also included remarks from Associate Attorney General Tony West, was originally supposed to include remarks from Attorney General Eric Holder.
The following are Special Contribution Award Recipients:
James Furnas — Southern Region, Civil Trial Matters
Bruce Wilpon — Southwestern Region, Civil Trial Matters
Tom Rohall — Western Region, Civil Trial Matters
Dianne Helfgott — Court of Federal Claims Section, Civil Trial Matters
Jason Laseter — Court of Federal Claims Section, Civil Trial Matters
Aaron Vaughan — Court of Federal Claims Section, Civil Trial Matters
Christopher Forte — Southern Region, Criminal Matters
Louis A. Wilson — Southern Region, Criminal Matters
William S. Lee — Western Region, Criminal Matters
Greg Miki — Western Region, Criminal Matters
J.D. (Dave) Varley — Criminal Appeals and Tax Enforcement Policy Section