The federal government is being cheated by its own employees.
This week, twenty-four current and former IRS employees in Tennessee were charged with fraud for falsely claiming they were unemployed to collect more than $250,000 worth of government benefits like food stamps, housing vouchers and jobless benefits.
"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 said in a statement.
If convicted, these tax tricksters could face up to five years in prison.
This isn't the first time IRS employees have gone rogue.
In fact, on Monday, the Justice Department announced a similar case in Indiana, where four former IRS call center employees allegedly engaged in the same scheme of claiming unemployment to receive more than $30,000 worth of federal benefits, while working for the IRS.“These are not victimless crimes – any fraud or waste of taxpayer resources is a crime against every taxpayer in this state,” U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett said in a statement.
The federal government lost $14 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims last year.