You might have wondered to yourself in April: just how easily could I defraud the IRS into letting me pay little or no taxes? It’s just a half-step more sinister to wonder if you could get the IRS to pay you, instead. After all: what’s the difference? Either way it’s lost revenue for the government. An Oregon woman recently found it’s actually quite easy to con The Beaver State out of millions. Bit it’s harder, apparently, to keep track of the prepaid card loaded with your ill-gotten gains.

Edmund Garman/flickr source

The Oregonian reports that Krystie Marie Reyes, of Salem, Ore., managed to scam the state’s Department of Revenue out of $2.1 million, all of which was put onto a prepaid card. Reyes has since been arrested, but it took the state a while to figure out what she had done. The details:

According to the affidavit, Reyes used Turbo Tax, a popular tax preparation software package, to file a faked 2011 income tax return that reported wages of $3 million and claimed she was owed a $2.1 million refund. The state authorized the refund, and Turbo Tax issued Reyes a Visa debit card with the full refund amount.

“State revenue officials,” the story continues, “did not discover the fraud until Reyes reported the card as lost or stolen.”

Incredible! She had managed to spend $150,000 in the meantime, $2,000 of which went toward the purchase of a 1999 Dodge Caravan. If only Reyes’ discretion extended beyond being frugal when buying an automobile. It was her reporting the $2 million card missing that got her caught. Otherwise the great state of Oregon had no clue it had made a millionaire out of a cheat. That’s pretty sloppy accounting for a state that doesn’t even levy a sales tax.

We would never endorse tax fraud here, but, we can admire just how easily Reyes got $2 million out of the state. The lesson here is: keep track of your prepaid cards. They don’t always offer the same protections that traditional debit cards do, and many have fees associated with issuing new cards. And, if you’ve stolen the money from your state’s coffers, don’t report the card missing. Just enjoy your 1999 Dodge Caravan and move on with your life.

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