Dogs have taken the blame for many things including lost homework, mangled shoes and shredded furniture to name a few. A story from the Courthouse News Service describes a Dallas man who may have gotten an idea from the canine species to swallow a debit card to conceal his involvement in a multi-million dollar identity and tax refund fraud scheme.
The story reports that the man and his co-conspirators used a staggering amount of stolen identities to file bogus tax returns claiming millions of dollars in tax refunds. The refunds were loaded on debit cards or funneled into bank accounts that were opened with the stolen identity information.
The article goes on to say that the fraudster and his co-conspirators traded information with a similar group of scammers in Cincinnati. It so happens that while in the suburbs of that city, he was stopped by police. A drug detection dog ascertained that something was awry and after searching the vehicle, police found more than $300,000 in cash, money orders and multiple debit cards. Investigators also discovered that while the vehicle search was going on, the fraudster tried to eat one of the debit cards in an attempt to get rid of the evidence. (That had to hurt going down. It may have been easier to swallow the money.)
This money hungry man was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire, mail and bank fraud, seven counts of presenting fraudulent claims on the United States, two counts of access device fraud; and six counts of aggravated identity theft. (I’ve lost count of the counts.) The 38-year-old man was sentenced to serve 17 years in prison and ordered to pay $15.9 million in restitution. His four co-conspirators have already each been sentenced to prison terms ranging between 40 months and 174 months and restitution payments ranging from $1 million to $15.9 million each. (I wonder if the four partners in crime struck a plea deal to get reduced sentences. After all, it is a dog-eat-dog world out there.)
In this case, the police dog was definitely not this fraudster’s best friend. Isn’t it ironic that the criminal’s grand scheme was busted up by a canine? (This dog gets an A+ for completing all of his investigative homework instead of eating it.) As the saying goes, what goes around comes around. This fraudster is looking at some pretty serious consequences for his selfish actions.