Criminals and scofflaws make use of sophisticated digital tools to game the tax system, so the state is looking for better tools for counteracting the crooks.
The state Department of Taxation and Finance says it will apply a $750,000 grant to beef up its tax enforcement programs. It plans to upgrade the digital evidence lab, bolster its data analytics program and buy surveillance vehicles, according to a news release from Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion.
The tax agency investigates illegal enterprises, personal tax evasion, tax preparation scams, identity theft and even public corruption.
The cigarette strike force has made nearly four dozen arrests for illegal sales of untaxed tobacco in the past year and a half. The Office of Internal Affairs investigates employee misconduct, phone scams, phishing schemes and interference with agency operations.
Cell phones, flash drives and other electronic devices used by wrongdoers often contain troves of data that investigators can exploit.
New tools, according to Manion, will enable the agency to detect and prosecute ill-gotten gains.
The grant itself is a byproduct of enforcement. It is financed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., with criminal forfeitures from investigations of major banks.