From Front Porch Politics
Reports have come out about how illegal immigrants have been taking advantage of taxpayers via the Department of Revenue by claiming child tax credits that they do not have amassing tens of thousands of dollars they are not entitled to. Now a woman from Salem, Oregon has committed one of the biggest tax frauds in state history and taken the taxpayers for more than $2 million.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Krystle Marie Reyes was arrested and placed in the Marion County Jail on charges of computer crime and aggravated theft.
The affidavit says that Ms. Reyes used the highly popular ‘do-it-yourself’ tax software to prepare a fraudulent 2011 income tax return. In the return she reported $3 million in wages and claimed that she was owed a $2.1 million refund.
The state accepted her return and authorized her refund which was given by Turbo Tax in the form of a Visa debit card filled with $2.1 million.
So how was Reyes caught? Apparently this woman who was clever enough to fool the state to get millions fraudulently could not keep up with the debit card and reported it lost or stolen. It was then that red flags went up and she was arrested.
However, she did get quite a bit of shopping in. She spend $150,000 on purchases. Reyes spent $13,000 in Marion County over two days in February, $26,000 in March and more than $35,000 in April. At the first part of May she spent over $17,500. She also purchased a 1999 Dodge Caravan for $2,000 cash and $800 worth of tires and wheels.
The affidavit doesn’t give us a lot of information, but one thing it does do is withhold whether she is a legal citizen. She does provide a Social Security number, which has been blacked out for obvious reasons.
Department of Revenue spokesman Derrick Gasperini said he could not comment on the case until it is made public when Reyes is arraigned today. But he said it is common for Turbo Tax to issue prepaid debit cards to clients who get refunds using their software.
When the state issues refunds, it typically does so with a check or a direct deposit to a bank account, he said.
The arrest is sure to set off a firestorm of questions about how a tax filer was able to, at least for awhile, get away with such a lucrative scam against an agency that is supposed keep a sharp lookout for improper tax filings.
“They’ve got some explaining to do to restore the confidence of Oregonians,” said Rep. Vicki Berger, R-Salem, who serves as co-chair of the House Revenue Committee. “Is this is an anomaly? If so, let’s make sure it never happens again. Or do we have a systematic problem in the way the Department of Revenue treats this and other transactions?”
Michael Jordan, the state’s chief operating officer cut out a $100 million computer upgrade that the department said would pay for itself by finding those seeking to cheat the system.
I guess Mr. Jordan has some explaining to do, along with Ms. Reyes.