34-year-old IRS employee Patricia Fountain and her 39-year-old boyfriend Larry Ishmael were arrested last Wednesday and charged with defrauding the federal government in a tax refund scam in which Fountain allegedly used her position with the IRS to rip off unsuspecting taxpayers.
Patty the bad IRS employee has been charged with conspiring to file false claims, filing 15 false tax returns, extortion, among other things. Prosecutors also accused her of structuring a $11,299 down payment on a financed 2007 Mercedes R350 by paying some of the down payment in cash and the rest to her credit card to avoid the $10,000 reporting rule that requires financial institutions to report cash transactions above 10 Gs. Her man and co-defendant Larry has been charged with conspiracy to file false claims and aiding in the filing of a false tax return.
Here's how the lame ass plan (allegedly) worked: Patty's job was to assist taxpayers with Telephone Excise Tax Refunds (TETR for the acronym fans out there). The TETR was a single payment (usually between $30 – $60) that individual taxpayers, businesses, non-profits could claim against telephone excise taxes paid between February 28, 2003 to August 1, 2006 for tax year 2006. According to prosecutors, Patty hit up unknowing taxpayers between November 2006 and May 2009 to get them to file false returns claiming the TETR. Before you ask, Patty and Larry did claim the TETR on their own returns. The bad part here is that Patty also allegedly charged $400 to file returns for the taxpayers she scammed and would threaten them with dreaded red flags if they refused to pay her fee.
Although she didn't have some IRS red flag stamp to curse these unwitting taxpayers forever, the indictment said Patty filed amended returns for taxpayers who didn't pay her fee, thereby reversing refunds these taxpayers were entitled to.
If convicted of all charges (unlikely), she could face up to 106 years behind bars.
Perhaps the craziest part of this case is that Patty and Larry were released on their own recognizance last Wednesday. Good luck, you two.