Justice Department officials released the indictment of 13 current and former IRS employees charged with “stealing from American taxpayers” by falsely claiming to be unemployed in order to receive food stamps, unemployment insurance, welfare, and housing insurance.
“According to the allegations in the indictments, while these IRS employees were supposed to be serving the public, they were instead brazenly stealing from law-abiding American taxpayers,” U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III said in a statement Wednesday. “These charges demonstrate our unwavering resolve to work with our law enforcement partners and hold accountable anyone who fraudulently obtains government benefits and violates the public’s trust.”
The IRS employees are charged with “fraudulently obtaining more than $250,000 in government benefits” and face up to five years in prison for each charge of making a false statement.
The number of Americans receiving benefits from such programs has spiked since the beginning of the recession. “The number of people receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps) has risen sharply in recent years — from about 26 million in 2007 to nearly 47 million in 2012,” the Congressional Budget Office said in a snapshot of the program released this week. “Total spending on SNAP has also grown significantly — from $35 billion in 2007 to $80 billion in 2012.”