« Looming retirement crisis a major problem, employers say | Main | Price war among realtors starts to heat up »

April 09, 2021

Fraudsters use dead people to claim millions in tax scam

In a case that might make Haley Joel Osment blush, a group of New York tax preparers have allegedly been caught using dead people to claim millions in tax refunds.

According to the city’s local NBC affiliate, 26 Bronx and Manhattan people claimed “the bulk” of about $95 million in refunds since 2001 by listing deceased Yankees as dependents and collecting the cash themselves.

The bizarre case, dubbed a “criminal twist on the old proverb about death and taxes” by Manhattan’s U.S. Attorney, has also been called the “largest coordinated takedown of tax preparers in history.”

Check out NBC New York’s article on the story here. There’s a lot to like for comedy’s sake:

1. The IRS naming the New York sting “Operation Brass Tax”
2. The fraudster’s plot closely resembling that Simpsons  episode where Sideshow Bob uses dead voters to elect him Mayor of Springfield

But when the jokes run out, this is still a major case of tax fraud, a serious issue that always gains steam this time of year.

Canadians, of course, are no stranger to tax fraud cases, notably falling victim to a $1.4 billion charitable receipts scheme in 2007.

And there’s even a serious one going on now, a phishing con in Saskatchewan that prompts would-be victims to enter financial info in an apparently legit email claiming to be from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).

Remember, the CRA would never have you send in any personal info via email, so never oblige. That’s how the scammers get you.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



Post a comment


Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...