On the heels of “Tax Day,” 24 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees have been charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in government benefits, including food stamps, welfare and housing vouchers.
The story comes out of Tennessee, where federal prosecutors announced this month that the scheme fleeced U.S. taxpayers out of at least a quarter of a million dollars in government benefits. The corrupt IRS employees did it by making false statements to fraudulently obtain the benefits, which also included unemployment insurance.
In short, the IRS workers were “brazenly stealing from law-abiding American taxpayers,” according to the federal prosecutor handling the case. Better yet, Americans are not only paying their salary and generous government benefits while also getting fleeced for the other welfare the corrupt federal workers stole.
This case simply marks the latest of many shameful transgressions for the IRS in the past few years alone. The agency has repeatedly come under fire for failing to crack down on a number of fraudulent schemes, including prison inmates that illegally receive tens of millions of dollars in tax refunds, federal employees at various agencies that have escaped paying billions in back taxes and letting illegal immigrants get billions in tax refunds.
The jailbird tax scam has become a big joke because the IRS has for years failed to stop the fleecing by incarcerated criminals. In fact, the number of fraudulent tax returns filed by prisoners—and the money doled out by the government—increases every year, several federal audits have found. Earlier this year one such audit revealed that from 2004 to 2010 the number of inmates that swindled the government increased from 18,000 to over 91,000 and the refunds claimed skyrocketed from $68 million to $757 million.
A few years earlier a separate federal probe determined that more than a quarter of a million inmates filed tax returns with the IRS and nearly 50,000 claimed more than $130 million in refunds without bothering to report wage information. That particular investigation also disclosed that the IRS has never bothered to create a system to catch the offenders, despite an ongoing epidemic of inmates—in both federal and state prisons—illegally receiving millions of dollars in tax refunds each year.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the IRS has also permitted more than 1 million foreigners—many in the country illegally—to claim tax credits they didn’t qualify for, which ended up costing the government an astounding $9 billion. The agency knew the tax credits were not legal because filers didn’t possess a valid Social Security number, but rather an alternative Tax Identification Number (TIN) popular among illegal aliens but not valid to work in the U.S.
There have been a number of other scandals at the IRS over the years, including a $33 million giveaway for bogus electric car credits and a high-level agency director who admitted defrauding the U.S. government out of $1.3 million using fake deductions to reduce the taxes of unsuspecting Americans. Last spring Judicial Watch obtained records showing how the IRS uses taxpayer confidentiality laws to withhold records of employee fraud.