Chuck Schumer seeks to stop prisoners from filing false tax returns

Imprisoned felons are scoring millions in bogus tax refunds, and Sen. Chuck Schumer wants it to stop.

The New York Democrat blasted federal prison and tax authorities yesterday for failing to prevent prisoners from filing fraudulent claims that have cost taxpayers $124 million in five years, a new report revealed.

"It is outrageous to think that convicted felons are able to fleece taxpayers from a jail cell," Schumer said.

Some prisoners get refunds by filing tax returns with bogus income information - straight from their cells.

Others use false names and Social Security numbers to claim multiple refunds, which are mailed to pals on the outside.

Schumer said the IRS and the Bureau of Prisons should share more information to root out crooked criminals.

Prison officials are hesitant to take steps against inmates suspected of tax fraud - such as limiting access to visitors or libraries - fearing they will file law suits, Schumer said.

A recent federal report said the number of phony tax returns filed by prisoners more than doubled between 2004 and 2009, when they exceeded 44,000.

The amount wrongly paid out by the feds to inmates jumped during the same period to $39 million, up from $13 million.  More...   PrisonerPal.com