With the Internal Revenue Service under fire for targeting Tea Party groups, the sentencing of a former IRS worker, Patricia Fountain, for conspiracy, tax fraud and extortion, will only increase the distrust the public has for the tax agency. Fountain, a Philadelphia mother of four, stole more than $1.7 million in bogus refunds for the agency and was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
A jury in federal district court in Philadelphia convicted Fountain, 36, of conspiracy, tax fraud and extortion in March. She had worked as an IRS customer service representative for nearly a decade when she discovered in 2006 that the agency issued was issuing refunds for a telephone tax credits up to about $1,500 without verifying the filer’s information.
Fountain and her boyfriend, Larry Ishmael, recruited others from their North and West Philadelphia neighborhoods to pose as taxpayers seeking the credit, then collected a cut of the refunds each received from the agency.
She replicated the scam to steal money through similar credits offered by the agency – one for filers with student loans and another for first-time home buyers.
But when her straw filers didn’t send Fountain her cut of the money quickly enough, she punished them by filing another form that rescinded their credit request, prompting IRS letters that demanded the money back. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell slammed Patricia Fountain during her sentencing as being arrogant, a liar and her unwillingness to show remorse for her actions. She seems to be exhibiting the same level of arrogance as Lois Lerner, the high level IRS executive at the heart of the targeting scandal.
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