CNHI News Service

Opinion

February 11, 2013

Tax relief scammer: Where crime does pay

—  

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor,

Go ahead and cheat a friend.”

    -- Coven (theme from the movie Billy Jack)

---

I saw a “pat on the back” news release from the Federal Trade Commission recently. The headline said, “FTC Settlement: Tax Relief Scammers Agree to Pay More Than $15 million.”

If you go down a couple of sentences, it notes that the scheme bilked consumers out of $100 million dollars.

Crime does pay.  

Making $100 million, with the cost of getting caught at $15 million, is an $85 million profit.

Most business, legitimate or illegitimate, will take an $85 million profit any day of the week.

The seminal book on crime, The Godfather, said, “a lawyer can steal more with his briefcase than 100 men with guns.”

Alexander Seung Hahn, the “leader” of the group American Tax Relief LLC, obviously used some of the $100 million to hire some excellent attorneys as he and American Tax Relief got a sweetheart deal.

In theory, the settlement order imposes a $103 million judgment but, according to the news release, “The judgments will be suspended once the defendants and relief defendants have surrendered assets that total more than $15 million, including cash, a home in Beverly Hills and a condo in Los Angeles, jewelry and gold items, and a 2005 Ferrari.”

In other words, everyone goes away happy as long as Hahn and his people fork over $15 million.

If they had walked into a tax relief center with a gun and robbed it of $85, not $85 million,  they would spend several years in the pokey.   

Instead, they have to suffer the indignity of giving up their Ferrari.

To some in Beverly Hills, giving up the house and Ferrari may be the same as breaking rocks, but it doesn’t seem the same to me.

I have never understood two things. One is why no one has cracked down on the “tax relief” people a long time ago. I rarely watch television, but see their nonstop advertisements. The Internal Revenue Service has a program called an “Offer in Compromise” where it is theoretically possible to have your tax burden reduced, but it is rarely successful.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Zamperini, the Olympian and POW, was a hero because of his faith

    Louis Zamperini collected many accolades as an Olympic distance runner and brave bombardier who spent a month adrift at sea and two years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. But faith and forgiveness are what truly distinguished him.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hobby Lobby critics push specious privacy pitch

    The violation of privacy argument by liberal detractors of the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby-Obamacare case doesn't hold water when you consider the current collection and use of the personal details of your medical preferences.

    July 11, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Declare your independence from empty slogans

    'Independence Day' is now an ironic celebration in a country where the president promotes government dependence over actual freedom, and where bumper-sticker slogans have replaced actual, independent thought.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Taxi owners, government patrons try forcing Uber to go 'off-duty'

    Uber gives urban passengers an enticing alternative. Rides on-demand arrive faster than taxis, are cheaper and cleaner, and get rated by customers. Rather than hail innovation, government enablers are helping the heavily regulated taxicab industry freeze out the upstart.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg IRS spins email yarn as Obama slips past another scandal

    Forget everything you've heard about email. All digital trace of a former IRS official's email over the 25 months the agency harassed conservative groups has mysteriously, improbably vanished. Gone, too, is the White House's accountability as President Obama slips from another scandal.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama: Don't listen to those who knew Bergdahl best

    The Obama administration chides anyone who suggests that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl - the POW traded for a dream team of Taliban terrorists - might be something less than a hero. The White House wants us to stop jumping to conclusions - unless, of course, we're jumping to the right conclusions.

    June 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Left tallies 'true cost' of coal with a political calculator

    Weighing the "true cost" of coal-based energy is politically convenient. In a "true cost" world, coal may be more expensive but alternate energies aren't affordable, either; you don't get a tax break on your mortgage; and the feds don't protect the United Auto Workers from Chrysler's bankruptcy.

    June 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Veterans wait for healthcare, we wait for accountability

    Poor care and long wait times at the Veterans Administration are little surprise for an organization with such an entrenched bureaucracy. It's almost predictable as the Obama administration's mock surprise and non-response.

    May 30, 2014 1 Photo

News
Sports

Features