On September 8, 2014 Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia asked for and was granted permission to address the United States House of Representatives regarding H.R. 744, the Stopping Tax Offenders and Prosecuting Identity Theft Act:
“Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Identity theft is a crime that leaves its victims feeling exposed and vulnerable while simultaneously inflicting serious financial damage upon them and the financial institutions and government agencies they do business with.
Unfortunately, identity theft is an expanding problem that has recently shifted its target to include the tax refund dollars owed to many hardworking Americans.
The Federal Trade Commission routinely issues statistics listing identify theft as the number one consumer complaint, with American adults having a roughly 1 in 5 chance of being victimized. Fraud related to government benefits and documents regularly comprises the large majority of identity theft reports.
The IRS has recognized the problem and begun shifting assets in response to this expanding threat. In a typical example from earlier this year in Norfolk, Virginia, two hospital workers were sentenced following their convictions for tax-related aggravated identity theft. Their scheme included stealing the personal information of hospital patients and using that information to apply for Federal tax refunds. All told, nearly 80 fraudulent returns were filed, seeking more than $400,000 in illegitimate refunds.
For the victims of this type of fraud, the original notice is often a rejection by the IRS of their legitimate tax returns. Not surprisingly, this initial rejection is often only the beginning of a long and continuing road to financial recovery. In addition to the delays inherent in resolving their tax return dispute and receiving their refund, the months following the discovery of the identity theft are typically spent trying to restore their credit through an endless stream of paperwork, including police reports, affidavits to credit bureaus, and complaints to various consumer protection agencies.
Unfortunately, in Virginia and nationwide, this is a problem that is only growing in magnitude, partly due to the expanding methods used by criminals to gain access to personal information. From highly sophisticated cyber criminal organizations engaged in activities designed to gain access to personal data on a grand scale to individual cases involving a lost wallet or purse, the ways in which someone with criminal intent can obtain our personal information are too numerous to list.
The legislation before us today, the STOP Identity Theft Act of 2014, is designed to strengthen the penalties associated with tax-related identity theft. Additionally, H.R. 744 expands who can be a victim of tax-related identity theft to include businesses and organizations, directs the Justice Department to allocate additional resources towards enforcement in this area, and encourages cooperation with State and local authorities through the establishment of task forces and otherwise.
I commend the sponsors, Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Chairman Smith, for their dedication to this important issue, and I urge my colleagues to join me to support this legislation.
I reserve the balance of my time.”
Source: Congressional Record
The Congressman serves on the following Committees and Subcommittees:
House Committee on the Judiciary – Chairman
Established in 1813, the House Judiciary Committee is the second oldest standing committee in Congress. This Committee has jurisdiction over a number of matters from immigration, terrorism, crime and intellectual property to constitutional amendments, anti-trust, patents, and copyrights. In addition, the Committee is responsible for oversight of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Bob is currently Chairman of this Committee. Bob has served the Judiciary Committee in a variety of leadership roles, including Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet (112th Congress), Vice Ranking Member (111th Congress), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachment (111th Congress), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Task Force (110th Congress), and Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property (109th Congress).
House Committee on Agriculture – Vice Chairman
The House Committee on Agriculture has jurisdiction over a variety of issues impacting America’s farmers and ranchers from rural electrification and energy production to crop insurance and trade. In addition, the Committee is responsible for oversight of the Department of Agriculture. Bob has served the Agriculture Committee in a variety of leadership roles including Chairman of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry (105th-107th Congresses), Chairman of the Agriculture Committee (108-109th Congresses), Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee (110th Congress), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research (111th Congress), and Vice Chair of the Agriculture Committee (112th Congress-present).
- Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit
- Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition