The Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force is a pilot program facilitated by California Assembly Bill 576, Revenue Recovery and Collaborative Enforcement Team Act. TRaCE joins existing state and federal resources to collaboratively combat illegal business activities that rob California of public funds and its citizens of public services.

The Task Force is comprised of investigators and special agents from multiple agencies working together to investigate, prosecute and recover revenue lost to the underground economy.

What is the Underground Economy?

Underground Economy, Human Trafficking, Counterfeiting, Piracy

"Underground Economy" is a term that refers to those individuals and businesses that deal in cash and/or use other schemes to conceal their activities, identities and true tax liability from government licensing, regulatory, and taxing agencies.

The State of California loses billions of dollars to the underground economy. Fraud and tax evasion most often occur in cash-driven businesses such as bars, restaurants, used car dealerships, and construction, but is also common in businesses selling counterfeit products and in the tobacco industry.

Tax evasion hurts California's economy as legitimate businesses are confronted with unfair competition, funding for public resources are lost, and employees are forced to work in conditions without basic protections or may even lose their jobs.

Why Should I Care?

Whether you know it or not, the underground economy affects you directly or indirectly. The people who operate in the underground economy are taking money out of your pocket.

  • Illegal underground economy activities often fund organized crime which can impact your local community.
  • Dollars generated from illegal underground activities have been tracked to terrorist organizations.
  • When you buy black-market drugs, your health is threatened from unsafe products.
  • When you pay for services "under the table" you may be supporting human trafficking—modern-day slavery, it ends with us.
  • When you buy knock-off merchandise, you get an inferior product and support those who steal ideas of designers and take jobs from workers that manufacture legitimate products.
  • When you buy a pirated DVD, it hurts every job in the movie industry from actors to ticket takers, and could ultimately affect the price of your movie ticket.
Underground Economy: Hurts business! Cheats consumers! Reduces tax revenue! Together we can stop it! Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement Task Force

What Can I Do?

California has created the Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement Task Force (TRaCE) to combat the underground economy and recover tax revenues that fund your public services.

You can help by reporting criminal tax evasion, piracy, counterfeiting, human trafficking and other crimes by clicking on the "Report a Crime" tab above. You can find more information about the TRaCE Task Force by clicking on the other tabs.