From my home state of North Carolina, a tale of malfeasance rooted out by the righteous whir of the big wheel:
A former Fayetteville postal carrier who was receiving worker’s compensation payments after injuring herself on the job pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court Monday.
Cathy Wrench Cashwell’s claim that she couldn’t lift mail trays into a truck due to a 2004 on-the-job shoulder injury was called into question in September 2009 when she appeared on “The Price is Right” and spun the “big wheel” twice.
According to an indictment filed in September 2012, Cashwell “raised her left arm above her head and gripped the handle with her left hand.” On a second spin, she “raised both arms above her head and gripped the same handle with both hands.”
Cashwell was also seen lifting furniture and was known to do a little ziplining.
Also from my home state, the Carolina Journal has been doing a series on tax return fraud, which the IRS hasn’t been so hot at stopping. You know, they’ve been busy documenting the family members and prayers of tiny Tea Party groups:
RALEIGH — Clinton residents Angela Christina Lainez-Flores and her daughter Karen Mejia filed fraudulent federal tax returns for refunds totaling $1.4 million from tax years 2006 through 2012, IRS special agent Bennett Strickland stated Thursday at a probable cause hearing in a Raleigh federal courtroom.
Lainez-Flores and Mejia had been charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government by filing fraudulent income tax returns. The scheme involved fabricated identities, phony W-2 earnings statements, and the listing of dependents who do not exist. If convicted of all charges, the maximum penalty would be imprisonment for 10 years. Each woman waived her right to a detention hearing and will remain in custody until trial.
This type of crime often is referred to as Stolen Identity Refund Fraud, or SIRF, and the IRS has described it as the No. 1 tax fraud scheme for 2013. It affects an untold number of innocent taxpayers, costing the federal government billions. It relies on two weaknesses in the operations of the Internal Revenue Service: its desire to get returns to taxpayers quickly, and a timing gap in how it deals with employees and employers.
And, let’s tie all this fraud and mismanagement in a bow, shall we, as corrupt Postal Service workers combine with an inept IRS to enable a criminal enterprise that stole millions from taxpayers:
NEWARK — Seven people, two of them U.S. Postal Service employees, have been charged in a multimillion dollar tax fraud scam that involved intercepting U.S. Treasury checks and using the ill-gotten gains to form shell corporations, purchase expensive cars and gamble in Atlantic City, officials said today.
In all, the group allegedly stole nearly $2 million in tax refunds after they bribed two Queens mail carriers to intercept the fraudulent checks between November 2011 and April 2013, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.
The checks were generated using Social Security numbers stolen from residents in Puerto Rico and falsified wage information, then directed to addresses along the mail route controlled by the two crooked mail carriers, Fishman said.
Danny Werfel would like you to know he’s got everything under control and things are totally being run smoothly now. And, President Obama would like to assure you, if that’s not the case, he’ll definitely read about it in the paper eventually.