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Illegals Steal $20.8M In Home Tax Credits

From the Dallas Morning News:

Feds find dubious home tax credit claims from Texas

By STEVE McGONIGLE / The Dallas Morning News
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Federal inspectors scouring tax returns that contain a credit for first-time homebuyers have found something curious about claims from Texas.

Nearly 1,000 were filed by people employing a special taxpayer identification number primarily used by illegal immigrants, who are not entitled to the credit.

The Texas filings represented nearly one-third of the 3,200 suspicious homebuyer credit claims submitted by noncitizens around the country. The value of the credits from all the noncitizen claims was $20.8 million, a U.S. Treasury Department inspector general said.

Texas’ total was almost double that of similar suspicious filings from California, a state estimated to have nearly twice as many illegal residents.

Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, declined to offer his assessment on the disproportionate number of suspicious homebuyer credit claims from Texas discovered by his investigators.

Probably only because the authorities are a little more rigorous in Texas than California about these things.

But he said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News that the involvement of third-party preparers in some questionable homebuyer claims filed nationwide suggested there may have been "conspiracies and attempts to cheat the government by more than one person."

George warned of the potential for fraud in the homebuyer credit program soon after it was enacted by Congress in July 2008. The credit was increased and extended in February 2009 as part of the $787 billion stimulus law

Antonio Matarranz, a Dallas real estate broker with a predominantly Hispanic clientele, said the tax credit program had helped save his business from collapse.

"It’s working like a charm," he said.

It sure is.

In October, George presented a report to a House subcommittee that found 74,000 claims for the homebuyer credit were submitted by people who already owned a home or never purchased one. Some filings were made by IRS agents themselves, by children as young as 4 years old and by people using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, George said.

An ITIN is used by people who are not eligible for a Social Security number. The program was created to collect taxes from foreign investors, but the IRS has acknowledged that more than half of ITINs are filed by illegal immigrants. Holders have filed more than 1 million tax returns each year, a requirement to obtain a refund.

Why not do away with the ITIN?

(Just kidding.)

Without specifying any targets, IRS officials told the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight at the same hearing attended by George that the agency had more than 160 active criminal investigations into possible fraudulent filings under the homebuyer tax credit. They said they had flagged about 100,000 claims for review

To date, the Justice Department has filed one criminal case and one civil injunction against tax preparers for submitting false claims for the homebuyer credit. One preparer was from Jacksonville, Fla. The second was from Mission, Texas.

Yes, you read that correctly.

To date our Department Of Justice have only prosecuted a grand total of two (2) people for this rampant crime.

Ludivina Salinas, owner of EZ Tax Services in Mission, agreed in October to be permanently barred from preparing or filing federal income tax returns.

Gosh, what a severe punishment.

The Justice Department stated in its lawsuit that Salinas, 30, had filed 237 claims for her clients under the first-time homebuyer credit program. In at least one case, the employee who prepared the claim knew that no home was bought, the suit said…

Salinas, who operated from a roadside building that also featured a carwash and taqueria, told investigators she was "not very knowledgeable about federal tax laws," according to court filings…

Mission is just north of the Rio Grande border with Mexico. The area has a high number of low-income residents and illegal immigrants.

George said he could not disclose for privacy reasons where in Texas the suspicious homebuyer claims by noncitizens originated.

But he said his office has not completed its investigation. He said another interim report is expected to be released by late February and will contain more revelations.

"The numbers get a lot worse," he said.

Why not?

What do these illegal aliens have to lose?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Illegals Steal $20.8M In Home Tax Credits”

  1. bill says:

    Well we gave them homes, didn’t we? why not give them more ….

    You are right, free money, the feds come, see you, back over the border we go.

  2. David says:

    How much you want to bet that they try to avoid the look of racial profiling by upping the number of non-hispanic audits on new home buyers like me.

  3. proreason says:

    Eric Holder is going to have to step in and put a stop to the IRS going after this miscreants so aggressively……now that the panty bomber is safe from harm.

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