Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jailhouse Tax Cheats

As you're working out this year's tax return and wondering why you pay the government so much money every year, keep in mind a gang of lowlifes down in Key West, Florida, who managed to bilk the IRS out of $100,000 over the past few years. The gang filed fake returns that called for refunds of generally around $5,000 apiece, using standard IRS forms.

That might not sound so remarkable, except that the whole thing was run from the Key West county jail. A continuing ring of small-time criminals apparently taught each other how to file IRS forms for made-up businesses. The 50 or so inmates who were in on the scam were especially brazen: They asked that most of the checks be sent directly to the jail.

Police eventually did catch on to the scam, after one of the inmates left behind a note in his cell detailing exactly how they were ripping off the feds. "I'm through with street crime," another criminal was recorded as saying. "I'm strictly white-collar from now on. I love the IRS."

Let's hope that the IRS has now decided to take a second look at any tax returns sent to them from a prison.

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