July 28, 2009

A More Direct Route to Welfare

Justin Katz

Here's an eye-popper:

Josefina Lorenzi, 47, who has been imprisoned since her Dec. 11 arrest last year, was sentenced by Judge William E. Smith in U.S. District Court, according to acting U.S. Attorney Luis M. Matos.

Lorenzi pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme that used other names but her home address [to file false tax returns]. Lorenzi must surrender for deportation while on supervised release. She is an illegal immigrant, according to Thomas Connell, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Rhode Island. ...

Using a search warrant, agents said they found eight more refund checks totaling $22,526, payable to other people at Lorenzi’s Indiana Avenue home. Agents later found 27 more false returns.

The additional refund requests and prepared checks found in her home and the total money fraudulently sought came to $150,360.

The article doesn't explain whose names Lorenzi used (and a quick online search reveals no further information), but one thing that's obvious is that her scheme wouldn't even have been a possibility were the income tax a simple flat rate without the intricacies of prior withholding. Or, in this case, if the government expended a little bit of effort ensuring that the people with whom it deals are actually citizens.

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Congratulations on uncovering a nasty scheme. Here's another one you might want to look into:

Plans to add $369 million to the Pentagon's budget for a dozen more F-22 jets will be vetoed by The White House.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates accused lawmakers of overspending on military toys instead of focusing on how to defend the U.S. against strategic threats like weapons of mass destruction and cyber attacks.

“If the Department of Defense can't figure out a way to defend the United States on a budget of more than half a trillion dollars a year, then our problems are much bigger than anything that can be cured by a few more ships and planes," Gates said in a wry and sometimes stinging address to the Economic Club of Chicago.

I know that there is a certain amount of pandering appeal to throw brick bats at illegal immigrants. So it's easier to call attention to $150,000 than to the $369,000,000 in wasteful military expenditures.

Obviously, you were more concerned with who was squeezing dollars than the amount being squeezed.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at July 28, 2009 1:53 PM

What's $350 million when we've already blown $1 trillion on a stimulus that didn't work, and are getting ready to blow another trillion or so on a healthcare plan that won't work?

$350 million to maintain worldwide air superiority with capabilities that the F-35 doesn't have is peanuts by comparison.

Posted by: EMT at July 28, 2009 8:47 PM

OTL-every time one of your sacred cows like illegal aliens get highlighted,you(the general "you"meaning leftists)start in with-"oooh,look at what someone else did that's worse".It gets old and tiresome because it is a tactic without any moral weight.
Let's say a car thief makes off with your vehicle?I'll bet you'd want the car recovered and the thief prosecuted.Somehow I don't think you'd much care why he needed your car.
Someone could say-"look,Chris Dodd got money from some big mortgage lenders and why should anyone care about your piddly stolen car"?
The crime described stands on its own as a felony.Apparently you not only have compassion for illegal aliens,you don't give a damn if they're criminal violators or not.
This is why amnesty is a non-starter-because people with your mindset will find that virtually any illegal alien deserves a chance no matter what they did.Pat Crowley would see a lot of merit in what you say.I don't.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 28, 2009 10:24 PM

Another leftist that has arguments that make no sense at all. The story highlights why we should get serious about all illegal immigrants...cause they're able to steal from tax payers that can't affort the stealing any longer. And I don't just mean the stealing highlighted in the story. I mean by being here they're stealing from all of us.
The left just can't make arguments that makes any sense. The programs that they champion hurt the very people they claim to be helping. The saddest part of all is that the people that the programs are targeting can't figure out they're being done in by these policies and by the left!

Posted by: X man at July 29, 2009 1:46 AM

To EMT and X man and mi amigo, joe.
1. I agree with many who write in this blog that illegal aliens present a problem. Where we differ is in what to do about it. We can take that question up at another time.

2. The point I was attempting to make in this post is that the argument that the illegals “cost us money" looks to me like a cover for xenophobia.

I wish that some of the writers in this blog would simply come out and declare their prejudices rather than conceal them behind money concern posturing.

“Live clean, let your works be seen”, Peter Tosh.

Why EMT talks about the F35 fighter when the subject was Secretary Gates comments on the F22 program says enough about EMT’s acumen and attention to detail.

X man’s arguments that the average taxpayer cannot afford to have his pockets picked is valid. I don’t want it. You don’t want it. Where we differ is in which hand to remove from our pocket first. It’s too easy to pick on the little guy and to ignore the powerful thieves among us. I was trying to say that there are bigger taxpayer losses in other areas of our society. Let’s identify them and clean them up first.

1. I was not trying to say look at what somebody else did in order to divert attention. Illegal immigration is a problem, but I don’t share the hysteria usually shown in this blog on the subject. A cooler look at our wasteful spending would put the problem in perspective, and push it further down our list of priorities.

2. The question of amnesty is outside the parameters of the initial argument made in this blog. We can pick up on that in more appropriate circumstances.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at July 29, 2009 3:27 AM

This news story (why do they call them "stories"?)reminds me of a lawyer in nearby Massachusetts (North Attleboro). He went to jail for filing false income tax returns for clients and keeping the refunds. He was sentenced to a number of years in jail. That didn't particularly hamper his efforts. He continued to file the false returns and have the refunds sent to him in jail.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at July 29, 2009 4:18 PM
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