Guy Who Made $3.5K Got Tax Refund of $980K

For a brief time, at least
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2019 12:11 PM CST

(Newser) – A 29-year-old Florida man who made $3,497 in 2016 managed to get a $980,000 tax refund. Ramon Christopher Blanchett submitted a self-prepared income tax return in 2017 along with two W-2 forms: One that was accurate, showing $1,399 in income and no federal income tax withholding, and one that was decidedly not accurate, showing $17,098 in wages and $1 million in withholding. That one should have listed just $2,098 in wages and no withholding, according to a federal forfeiture complaint obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. But the IRS didn't realize the issue in time, and the US Treasury issued a check for $980,000 to Blanchett.

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The Tampa man managed to get the money, despite the fact that SunTrust Bank initially froze the funds for suspected fraud. The bank later closed the accounts and sent Blanchett a cashier's check, which he put into a money market account with Grow Financial Credit Union, claiming the money was from his late father's estate, according to the complaint. He managed to buy a Lexus, but the authorities realized what had happened and got a federal seizure warrant. The IRS seized the car, the remaining $919,251, and is trying to get back the $809 insurance refund Blanchett got after he canceled his policy on the car, but Blanchett has not been charged with a federal crime. The IRS would not comment on the matter to the Times. (Read more tax fraud stories.)

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