Police Arrest 24 IRS Workers in Tennessee Over Food Stamp & Unemployment Income Fraud
Tennessee – 24 people, all of whom are employed by the IRS, have been arrested on federal charges for fraud in connection with obtaining food stamps, unemployment benefits, and even housing vouchers.
News of the fraud comes at a time when the Department of Labor reported that, for the month of March, an additional five million people looking for work dropped off the unemployment rolls after ceasing to report their unemployment status. The district attorney for Shelby County expressed outrage because the people accused of fraud used their positions at the IRS to circumvent the law. Apparently, this is nothing new at the IRS.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which oversees the IRS, has been investigating this practice for years now in what they term “Operation Double Dip”.
Just recently, four IRS workers were arrested in a similar scheme in Indiana. In the case of the Indiana IRS workers, they initially claimed unemployment benefits legitimately during a work furlough.
However, when they returned to work they did not report their change in employment status to continue collecting benefits. The scheme in Tennessee began as far back as 2006 for some of the accused. The Tennessee 24 age in the range from 28 to 61.
“The agency considers combating and preventing fraudulent overpayments as a top priority, as well as recouping improper payments resulting from fraud. We will continue to enlist the help of agencies like the OIG to assist in this effort,” Jeff Hentschel, spokesman for the Tennessee Labor Department, told The Tennesseean.
“Both current and former employees, they were just bilking money from the government, from the state and federal government– housing, unemployment, food stamps, welfare, all of that,” Weirich said. “You would expect better from an IRS agent. We all expect better from all of our government employees.”
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