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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.

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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