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We all want to pay less taxes, and we all know that dependents get you extra tax breaks. Most of us know that you shouldn't lie about the number of dependents you have, and I'm pretty sure that almost all of us know that you shouldn't put on ad on Craigslist looking for kids to claim as your dependents so you can get a bigger tax refund. All of us except for Raheem McClain, that is.
McClain has been indicted for filing false tax returns after he posted an ad on Craigslist offering $750 for unclaimed children that he could list as dependents on his tax return. Maybe the biggest surprise? He found a few.
A Not-So-Perfect Crime
A federal grand jury in Springfield, Missouri indicted McClain on three charges of filing false federal tax returns from 2012 to 2014. And it looks like he was at it again with this Craigslist ad from January 16, 2015:
"WANTED: KIDS TO CLAIM ON INCOME TAXES - $750 (SPRINGFIELD,MO)
IF YOU HAVE SOME KIDS YOU ARENT CLAIMING, I WILL PAY YOU A $750 EACH TO CLAIM THEM ON MY INCOME TAX. IF INTERESTED, REPLY TO THIS AD."
According to Justice Department prosecutors, McClain listed three dependents on his previous tax returns, though he seems to have had trouble keeping his kids straight: the three had the same names and Social Security numbers, but on one return they are listed as two sons and one daughter while on the other two returns they are listed as one son and two daughters. No word on whether investigators confiscated McClain's "World's Best Dad" coffee mug.
I Fought the Tax Man
McClain's alleged criminal scheme got us thinking about some of our favorite tax cheats in recent memory. Like the tax attorney who tried to deduct money spent on prostitutes as medical expenses. Or the Florida man who claimed he was tax exempt because he lived in heaven. (The Sunshine State is purgatory, at best.) And who could forget the lovely mother-son team that robbed their tax preparer with a curling iron.
It seems like paying taxes can bring out the worst in us. Even McClain's home state of Missouri may have violated tax laws by paying its executioners in cash.