A More Direct Route to Welfare
Here’s an eye-popper:
Josefina Lorenzi, 47, who has been imprisoned since her Dec. 11 arrest last year, was sentenced by Judge William E. Smith in U.S. District Court, according to acting U.S. Attorney Luis M. Matos.
Lorenzi pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme that used other names but her home address [to file false tax returns]. Lorenzi must surrender for deportation while on supervised release. She is an illegal immigrant, according to Thomas Connell, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Rhode Island. …
Using a search warrant, agents said they found eight more refund checks totaling $22,526, payable to other people at Lorenzi’s Indiana Avenue home. Agents later found 27 more false returns.
The additional refund requests and prepared checks found in her home and the total money fraudulently sought came to $150,360.
The article doesn’t explain whose names Lorenzi used (and a quick online search reveals no further information), but one thing that’s obvious is that her scheme wouldn’t even have been a possibility were the income tax a simple flat rate without the intricacies of prior withholding. Or, in this case, if the government expended a little bit of effort ensuring that the people with whom it deals are actually citizens.