Create a government benefit program and there will be those who seek to exploit it as well as engage in fraudulent acts to extract benefits to which they are not entitled. The food stamp program comes immediately to mind with opportunities for even the most unimaginative individual to come up with ways to illegally game the system.
The farm subsidy program would be another popular target for those who wish to expand the benefits they receive beyond those to which they are entitled. For many, it seems like a peculiar system to begin with, one where farmers can be receive government benefits by choosing not to farm. No doubt there are a lot of people with jobs who would like that deal.
One farmer, Brad McIntyre of Louisiana, did get creative. He has been convicted of creating fake farms with family members getting subsidies to which they were not entitled. He will not be farming for perhaps up to 50 years as he spends time in prison for his offenses.
“A Louisiana farmer is guilty of defrauding the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) by using fake farms to qualify for $1.6 million in subsidies, the Department of Justice said Monday in a press release.
“The jury convicted Brad McIntyre of Bastrop, La., of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering after a five-hour deliberation July 21, the press release states
“McIntyre’s fraud began in 2009 when he found a way to avoid a $40,000 cap on the amount of USDA subsidies a single farm owner is allowed by listing his family members and workers as farm owners on parts of his total acreage, the Louisiana News Star reports.
“Emergency relief payments for farmers suffering from drought or other natural disasters is capped at $100,000. McIntyre’s group of fictitious farm owners were together able to raise that cap indefinitely, as well.”
This was no small operation that McIntyre created. And he managed to keep the scam going for four years before getting caught.
“McIntyre’s scheme ended in 2013. He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison, more than $1 million in property forfeiture, and $2.5 million in fines.”
Good for the government for catching this guy. Such fraud either results in the government expending funds it should not have, or in some cases results in truly worthy individuals being deprived of benefits provided by law.
Yet one is compelled to question what with the almost innumerable government assistance programs in existence how many billions of dollars are either wasted or stolen each year. In a sense, that’s a pointless question, since if the government knew, that would imply it would also know who the perpetrators are and would be able to arrest them.
Nevertheless, the number must be astronomical. And plugging the holes remains a task at which government enforcement efforts likely only catch a relatively small percentage of the criminals. The rest are living on our tax dollars via fraud. And given the level of taxes many of us pay, that is a crime.
Source: Daily Caller