Odd Case Alleges|Corporate Identity Theft


     TALLAHASSEE (CN) – A biodiesel company sued Florida for $1.3 million, claiming the state gave corporate identity thieves a tax credit in that amount, and refused to make the real company whole after the chicanery was discovered.
     Epoch Biodiesel sued Florida in Leon County Court.
     Epoch claims in the bizarre lawsuit that it spent $1.7 million to build a biodiesel plant in Groveland, Fla., taking advantage of the state’s offer of tax credits for alternative energy sources.
     “The project qualified for the State’s energy technology tax credit based upon 75 percent of eligible expenditures, but Epoch Biodiesel was denied the tax credit because imposters falsely posing as authorized representatives for Epoch Biodiesel had applied for, and were granted, a putative tax credit of $1,250,174.59, based upon an investment Epoch Biodiesel had made,” the complaint states.
     It continues: “Epoch Biodiesel did not learn of the ‘identify theft’ until it attempted to rightfully apply for the tax credit, and was and told by the State that ‘Epoch Biodiesel’ had already applied for and been awarded a tax credit. Epoch Biodiesel was further instructed not to apply for a tax credit, no matter how rightful its claim for a tax credit might have been, since the State had already granted a tax credit in the name of ‘Epoch Biodiesel.’ Epoch Biodiesel got no benefit from the tax credit issued to the imposters. It took exception to the interdiction of its rights as a Florida taxpayer by the imposters, and to the State’s refusal to recognize Epoch Biodiesel’s rights to a tax credit. The State may have granted a tax credit, but not Epoch Biodiesel’s. This action is brought to have those rights declared and recovered, and damages for the deprivation of those rights.”
     Epoch seeks declaratory judgment that it deserves the tax credit of $1,280,175 – and the tax credit.
     It is represented by Tucker H. Byrd, with Morgan & Morgan, of Orlando.
     The defendants are the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Revenue.

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