Do you ever play the lottery? It seems nearly impossible to win; however, the temptation of buying a few tickets for it almost is too hard to resist. Or, maybe you’re more apt to play scratch off games? There is just something about the silly themes that makes winning the occasional $50 so rewarding. Like the lottery, many aspects of life are a game of chance. According to a Babylon Village Patch article, six Long Island men are accused of playing the biggest game of chance – fraud.
The six Long Islanders, with nicknames like “The Doctor” and “Life,” (seriously, I can’t make this stuff up) are accused of exploiting tax laws that excuse Puerto Rican citizens from having to file federal income taxes if their money is made within the boundaries of Puerto Rico. (Wonder if he coined the name “Life” after “Life, without parole?”) Officials believe the men obtained personal identification information, such as Social Security numbers (SSN) from Puerto Rican citizens, and then used that information to file fake tax returns amounting to nearly $73 million. (Maybe it’s not on the same level as some of the larger lotteries, but $73 million sure is a good chunk of change.)
So, how might something like this have taken place? In cases where allegations prove to be true, most successful crimes have a person on the “inside.” And, I’m not talking about the inside of jail this time. The defendants are accused of bribing postal workers to intercept tax refund checks through the mail. After obtaining the intercepted checks from their “insider” authorities say the defendants would cash them through check-cashing services, as opposed to ATMs. Court documents indicate the defendants allegedly filed over 11,000 tax returns. (Can you imagine filing that many? I hate doing just one per year.)
An Inspector General Special Agent-in-Charge for the United States Postal Office reassured weary citizens: “Our office aggressively investigates allegations of public corruption, and any postal employee who misuses their position of trust for personal gain should understand that they will be arrested.” (Tempted with the chance of a life-time. Steal big, win big!)
I thought winning $5 at the gas station was exhilarating – I couldn’t imagine cashing in on millions. Then again, I’d rather risk a dollar or two at a gas station for nothing, then risk millions illegally for jail. At the end of the day, it’s all about calculating the “risk.” And, these men may be doing some recalculations, if the accusations lead them to jail.