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By David K. Li
A Florida man received a huge refund from the IRS by falsely claiming that he had paid $ 1 million in taxes, authorities said Friday.
The IRS has recovered much of the $ 980,000 repayment from Ramon Christopher Blanchett, a Tampa resident, who, according to federal prosecutors, has declared a seven-figure lie in his 2016 tax returns.
Blanchett called himself a "freelancer" and reported $ 18,497 in revenue that year, according to a forfeiture complaint filed last month by the US Attorney's Office in Tampa.
But in that same self-made 1040 statement, filed on February 21, 2017, Blanchett also reported that $ 1 million had been withheld in taxes, resulting in a $ 980,000 refund check, federal officials said .
By "falsely representing that $ 1,000,000 of tax dollars had been withheld, the US Treasury" cut a check, made out to the order of Blanchett, in the amount of $ 980,000, "according to the complaint. confiscation written by American lawyer James Muench.
Blanchett used $ 49,117.59 to purchase a Lexus – which has since been seized by federal authorities, as well as three bank accounts worth $ 919,251.94, according to court documents.
The federal authorities also seized the $ 809.84 Blanchett had obtained from its automobile insurer after the seizure of the Lexus, officials said.
"If you add up all that, we've recovered $ 969,179.37 out of $ 980,000," said William Daniels, spokesman for the US Attorney's Office in Tampa. He said that he could not reveal how the error had been discovered.
An IRS representative in Washington declined to discuss Blanchett's case on Friday.
Blanchett, who could not be contacted for a comment on Friday, has not been charged, but the investigation is ongoing, officials said.