Sunday, August 26, 2012

Will implicating those on public assistance as primary suspects hurt those who need it most? My answer is - YES.

If the statistics are true, then you still cannot blame 100% of the people who use assistance.

Blame the ones who commit the crime. (If caught) make them ineligible from ever using assistance in the future. But just because 80-90% of this particular crime are on assistance, doesn't mean you can vilify 100% of the group - because there are plenty of people who just need a boost, and do not (nor intend to ever) live their lives permanently on the dole.  I see this as the start to another kind of class warfare that we do not need introduced during such hard economic times.

This article does not overtly incite this type of thinking, but, I do see it as the precursor to what can go down a very ugly road.

20 Aug 2012
Herald Tribune
Tax refund fraud linked to some living on welfare

Last summer, the state sent a notice to a felon's apartment, reminding Jerry Myea Lee that his food stamps would dry up if he did not reapply.

The form letter spit out other offers. Did he need child support? A telephone discount? How about an Earned Income Tax Credit? Lee, then 36, kept the paper.

As a teenager, he had grown 10 inches eating state-paid food in prison. Each time he got in trouble and pleaded poverty -- robbery, then drugs and guns -- the public paid for his lawyers. His state and federal incarcerations cost taxpayers almost $300,000.

He was a free man on July 6, 2011, cruising around Tampa in a rented Dodge Charger, when, during a traffic stop, a police dog got a whiff of weed.

In a bag behind the driver's seat, officers found Lee's food stamps letter -- and $30,980 in cash. Eleven days later, he was caught in Orlando with a U.S. Treasury check made out to someone else.
Tampa police suspect his cash had roots in tax refund fraud, which has drained billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury.

If so, it came from the same beleaguered source that has paid to feed, house and defend Lee all these years. You.

Tampa police estimate that 80 to 90 percent of the tax refund fraud they encounter is committed by people on public assistance.

"The people who are benefiting most from our taxes are the ones doing it," said police spokeswoman Andrea Davis.

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