As always happens when the government puts tons of cash up for grabs, scam-happy people will line up to take advantage of it. And a new report says that nearly 10% of the 15,000 folks caught scamming the government for the recent home buyer tax credit were doing it from behind bars.
According to a report issued by the Treasury Dept.’s inspector general, 1,295 prisoners, including 241 serving life sentences, somehow managed to receive $9.1 million in credits, despite being locked up at the time.
The report clarifies that these were not prisoners filing joint returns with spouses in the outside world, so there’s no way these cons could have purchased a home during the period for which the tax credit was available.
In addition to the criminals behind bars, here are some numbers on shady folks living among us:
â€¢ 2,555 taxpayers received $17.6 million in credits for homes purchased before the dates allowed by law.
â€¢ 10,282 taxpayers receiving credits for homes that were also used by other taxpayers to claim the credit. In one case, 67 taxpayers used the same home to claim the credit.
The inspector general wasn’t exactly thrilled about these results:
This is very troubling… Congress created and modified the home buyer credit to stimulate the economy and help taxpayers achieve the American dream, not to line the pockets of wrongdoers.
And in a statement, the IRS let it be known that they are taking it seriously:
Where there are questionable claims, the IRS has moved aggressively and successfully blocked or denied nearly 400,000 questionable home buyer claims and opened more than 150 criminal investigations… These aggressive efforts have saved taxpayers more than $1 billion.