People have been trying to cheat the US tax code for as long as it has existed. But each year, some very interesting attempts are noted. CNN Money highlighted their Top 10 picks for this year in a recent feature.
Tentacled Tax Evasion
A San Francisco restaurant owner hid 26 boxes labeled as “seasoned octopus” underneath his restaurant. They were stuffed with cash transaction receipts. His records personal records showed total sales from his restaurant $2 million. He only reported a bit more than $500,000 to the IRS. Three years in prison and nearly half a million in restitution was his reward for his tentacled tax evasion scheme.
Stealing From A Foster Child
An Anchorage Alaska couple stole over $830,000 from a trust fund set up for one of their foster children. With the pilfered funds they remodeled their home, purchased multiple cars, and splurged on designer handbags. As if this wasn’t enough, they failed to report the funds on their income taxes. The couple was sentenced to 4 years in prison and was required to pay back the stolen funds.
Swiping Cash From An Armored Car
A Portland, Oregon man used his job as an armored car driver to help his brother steal bricks of $100 bills. After the “theft,” the man handcuffed himself to the door of the armored car to make it appear like he had been robbed. He spent over $1 million before the plot was discovered and he was arrested. The IRS charged him with failing to report the income. Stolen or not, all income must be reported. This and a litany of other charges landed him 20 years in prison.
Among other failed excuses a Wisconsin man claimed he failed to report $900,000 in income because he had loaned his consciousness to a trust entity. Since his consciousness was on loan, he couldn’t pay the taxes owed on the income. This didn’t spare him a $6000 fine and almost three years in prison.
Being the Governor Of Alabama
An Alabama man claimed to be the governor of Alabama in its “original jurisdiction” as part of the reason he didn’t feel the need to report and pay taxes on over $9 million in rental income. He was found to have buried $350,000 worth of gold coins in his yard and was carrying coordinates to an island off of Honduras when he was arrested. Not even the governor of Alabama can avoid paying their fair share.
A group of New York City basketball referees used the stolen identities of local firefighters and policemen to receive paychecks. They failed to report the income on their own tax returns.
Nursing Home Fraudster
A Georgia man submitted close to $33 million in Medicare and Medicaid claims for services never performed at the local nursing home he owned and operated. He pocketed $8 million of that while the residents lived in filthy conditions with inadequate care. None of this income was ever reported. One new home and other real estate purchases later, the law caught up to him and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
A California man created a fake marriage counseling foundation, the Foundation For Harmony and Happiness. The IRS argued he created this charity to avoid paying taxes on his $380,000 salary he earned as an accountant. He used the money he would have sent to taxes to rent a mansion, buy a boat and an airplane. The court agreed with the IRS and the man was sentenced to three years in prison. No harmony or happiness after all.
A South Carolina man was recently convicted of filing over 600 bogus tax returns in hopes of collecting fraudulent tax refund checks. A number of his “clients” included gang members from the Bloods. He attempted to claim over $2.5 million in tax refunds, but only ended up getting 5 years in prison and a hefty $1.2 million in restitution fees.
It’s always good for a laugh to review the latest cutting edge tax fraud schemes. But don’t try any of these or anything similar on your own returns!