D.C.'S Corruption Scandal; Unusual Suspects Pull off the Inside Job of a Lifetime

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 16, 2007 | Go to article overview

D.C.'S Corruption Scandal; Unusual Suspects Pull off the Inside Job of a Lifetime


Byline: Deborah Simmons, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The federal evidence is shocking: Several named and unnamed co-conspirators committed mail fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, interstate transportation of stolen property and other crimes to defraud American taxpayers in general and D.C. taxpayers in particular of tens of millions of dollars over several years. The news is barely a week old; the investigation, of course, is ongoing.

The grand total of the property-tax scheme rises regularly. Initial reports estimated $14 million. Yesterday, that figure hit $30 million - but nobody's stopped counting.

Any public scandal spells bad news (even when sex isn't involved). One of this magnitude has the potential to stink up the East Coast - from City Hall to Capitol Hill to Wall Street.

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said yesterday that the bleeding has "stopped." Fortunately for all of us the mayor isn't heading up any probe. While we can all appreciate the fact that some of the key people involved in the scam are now behind bars and several city employees who should have noticed the red flags have been fired, the bottom line is that this criminal enterprise was carried out right under the noses of the mayor and the D.C. Council.

Thing is, the thieves weren't all that clever. The affidavit (which made me angrier and angrier as I read it) lays out a fairly sophomoric inside job. Employees who worked in the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue used bogus documents to bilk taxpayers. The co-conspirators set up bank accounts and fake companies, and approved six-figure property-tax refund checks to those companies. They then doled out the money to each other and used it to to buy real estate, automobiles (including a Bentley) and foolishness. One of the suspected thieves had an annual D.C. government salary of $81,000 but had spent more than $1.4 million in Neiman Marcus since the fall of 2000.

As the affidavit says on page 7, the scheme was effective because "on first glance, [it] had the veneer of legitimacy."

There were warning signs that said officials should have given the scheme second and third glances. For one, property-tax refunds spiked considerably between fiscal 2001, when D.C. had begun a financial recovery, and fiscal 2007, when the city won its best-ever bond ratings. During that period, refunds for property taxes rose from $10.5 million in 2001 to $26.4 million in 2004 to $20.7 million in the fiscal year that just ended on Sept. 30. In fact, 2004 was the year when the most important red flag was raised: That summer, D.C. Auditor Deborah Nichols urged city officials to take a closer look at the refunds because they had jumped an astounding 105.7 percent over projections.

Now, those numbers have the attention of everyone in City Hall. While the FBI, IRS and federal prosecutors assess the magnitude of the burgeoning scandal, D. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

D.C.'S Corruption Scandal; Unusual Suspects Pull off the Inside Job of a Lifetime
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.