In the late 1980s, millions of children in America disappeared overnight – but not in the way you think.
Until 1987, any taxpayer could claim to have children as dependents to lower their taxable income without actually having to provide a social security number of the child they claimed to have. Naturally, there were millions of children claimed as dependents who didn’t even exist, as their existence didn’t need to be proven to claim them. When the rules were changed in 1987, seven million children “disappeared,” but don’t worry, none were kidnapped.
Apparently, some are still able to game the system however, as one woman in PA was able to claim welfare benefits to help support her three children…. but there was one problem. They didn’t exist. As the New York Daily News reported:
A Pennsylvania woman is charged with accepting more than $100,000 in welfare benefits for three children who were never born, authorities said.
Sabrina Strothers, 23, surrendered Monday to police on charges of theft, forgery and welfare fraud, according to a police affidavit.
Detectives from the Allegheny County Court District Attorney’s Office said that Strothers was pregnant with triplets in 2008, but that the babies were never born.
Strothers reported that three children — Thomas, Tomalyia and Tyreik Wilson — were born on Nov. 20, 2008, and she collected benefits for them until March, after her cousin allegedly alerted authorities.
To give you just a few figures, Strothers received $89,453 in medical assistance funds, $37,269 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and $2,073 in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grants — totaling $128,795 of illegal benefits from Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services. Not a bad gig!
In this case alone, there are 128,795 reasons why the welfare system needs to be reformed. One can only hope Strothers gets some jail time (and has to pay back the money she took – with interest)as a deterrent to others who might be tempted to defraud the system in the same way.
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