IRS agent among 14 charged with tax credit fraud
Fourteen people, including an Internal Revenue Service employee, have been charged with using the federal credit for first-time homebuyers to commit tax fraud, US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said today.
The defendants, most of them from Massachusetts, were charged in multiple indictments related to filing false tax returns linked to the federal credit that was launched in 2008 in an attempt to stimulate the flailing housing market. The credit, which was extended and expanded over time, offered first-time homebuyers up to $8,000 off their tax bill if they purchased a home before last September.
One of those charged is a long-time IRS agent, Michael Doyle, of New Hampshire. He allegedly falsely claimed that he bought a home in 2008 to qualify for the credit, but actually purchased the property in 2007, Ortiz's office said. Doyle, 44, could not immediately be reached for comment, and an IRS official could not say whether Doyle still works for the federal agency.
Two other defendants, Junior Lopez of Southbridge, and Christopher Proe of Michigan, allegedly filed more than 50 fraudulent tax returns, receiving about $500,000 in refunds, prosecutors said. Proe and Lopez also could not immediately be reached for comment.
"It is critically important that taxpayers who play by the rules do not end up paying for refunds to people who commit fraud and blatantly lie on the forms submitted to the IRS,'' Ortiz said in a prepared statement.
J. Russell George, the Treasury's inspector general for tax administration, said it is "especially troubling" when an IRS agent is implicated in a fraud case. "Congress created and modified the home buyer credit to stimulate and help taxpayers achieve the America Dream, not to line the pockets of wrongdoers,'' George said.