Saturday, May 25 2013 12:56 AM EDT2013-05-25 04:56:19 GMT
A female pedestrian is in the hospital after being struck by a vehicle on the northeast side of Indianapolis. The woman was hit on E. 34th Street, between Gladstone and Colorado, around 9:45 p.m. Friday.More >>
A female pedestrian is in the hospital after being struck by a vehicle on the northeast side of Indianapolis.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 12:46 AM EDT2013-05-25 04:46:54 GMT
Tamika Catchings and Shavonte Zellous each scored 19 points and the Indiana Fever opened defense of their WNBA title with a resounding 79-64 victory over the depleted San Antonio Silver Stars on FridayMore >>
Tamika Catchings and Shavonte Zellous each scored 19 points and the Indiana Fever opened defense of their WNBA title with a resounding 79-64 victory over the depleted San Antonio Silver Stars on Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 12:00 AM EDT2013-05-25 04:00:53 GMT
If you waited until Friday to drive your RV to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you likely paid more to fill it up. "If you have to worry about the price of gas," said Hoosier race fan Steven Isaacs,More >>
This Memorial Day, gas prices are about where they were last year, instead of being up again.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:47 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:47:15 GMT
The Indiana Pacers are trying to even the Eastern Conference finals in Miami. Indiana has opened up a 12-point lead late in the first quarter. Roy Hibbert leads the Pacers with eight points. LeBron JamesMore >>
The Indiana Pacers have evened the Eastern Conference finals in Miami.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:18 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:18:05 GMT
Several Indiana teachers put their lives on the line just a year ago when two F-4 tornadoes hit Henryville and destroyed the elementary and high school. When Henryville Elementary School Teacher KristiMore >>
Several Indiana teachers put their lives on the line just a year ago when two F-4 tornadoes hit Henryville and destroyed the elementary and high school.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 10:41 PM EDT2013-05-25 02:41:45 GMT
A couple from Elwood face charges after police say they found a marijuana growing operation in their basement. Stephen Stookey, 70, and Marilyn Stookey, 69, were arrested after police raided their homeMore >>
A couple from Elwood face charges after police say they found a marijuana growing operation in their basement.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 10:04 PM EDT2013-05-25 02:04:40 GMT
Two people are in custody after an incident where an IMPD officer fired his duty weapon. Police say officers were investigating an incident in the 3200 block of Boulevard Place when a suspect failed toMore >>
Two people are in custody after an incident where an IMPD officer fired his duty weapon.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:55 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:55:55 GMT
A Greenfield police officer is fighting to keep his vanity license plate. Rodney Vawter has owned the personalized Fraternal Order of Police license plate "0INK" for the past three years. A class actionMore >>
A Greenfield police officer is fighting to keep his vanity license plate after it was revoked by the BMV.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 6:32 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:32:12 GMT
One of our city's best-known landmarks could soon see some changes not just in the way it looks, but in the way it's used. Friday's Memorial Day service is one of many events that takes place on MonumentMore >>
One of our city's best-known landmarks could soon see some changes not just in the way it looks, but in the way it's used.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 5:30 PM EDT2013-05-24 21:30:44 GMT
Fans headed to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend will face increased security aimed at keeping them safe. The eyes are on the cars, the part and the people at IMS. This year, more than everMore >>
Fans headed to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend will face increased security aimed at keeping them safe.More >>
INDIANAPOLIS - The state of Indiana spends millions of dollars providing food, clothing and shelter for convicts. But for some offenders, it's not enough.
13 Investigates has found them stealing your taxpayer dollars and some government agencies padding inmates' prison bank accounts along the way. It's a troubling practice of criminals cashing in behind bars.
They are serial offenders: thieves, drug dealers, child molesters, even murderers, all locked up behind bars in Indiana and collecting taxpayer dollars they were not entitled to receive. They are checks the government should have cut off the moment the inmates stepped foot inside a state prison.
"There may be instances where they get in despite our best efforts," said Doug Garrison, Indiana Department of Correction.
It's not supposed to happen at all. But 13 Investigates has obtained copies of actual checks and prison correspondence showing inmates not only stealing millions from the IRS, but government agencies themselves are mistakenly giving away thousands of your tax dollars to convicts behind bars.
"That's clearly one that would have slipped by the system," Garrison admitted as 13 Investigates showed him a copy of a check.
In 1974, the government decided to stop Social Security payments to prisoners behind bars. A decade later, the feds were also supposed to stop mailing death, disability and retirement payments.
But here it is, 37 years later, and taxpayers' dollars are still getting into inmates' bank accounts.
How it happens is puzzling. The Department of Correction allowed our cameras inside to watch the process.
"We open the mail and we inspect it," said a mail inspector at the Pendleton Reformatory.
Each piece of general mail sent to inmates is searched for contraband, checks and money orders before the letters are delivered.
"It's stressful," said another mail inspector, who carries the burden of not allowing dangerous items into prison cell blocks.
It was during a similar inspection that Department of Correction mail clerks at the Westville Correctional Facility seized federal checks sent to Larry Sires, a convicted thief.
For three months last year, the Social Security Administration sent checks totaling more than $4,000. Sires had been incarcerated since November 2009.
"Clearly, there was a deposit of a federal check that should not have been deposited. I don't know how it got deposited," conceded Garrison.
Each time a check came in, the DOC sent it back. The Social Security Administration even sent receipts as acknowledgement, but the agency never flagged Sires's name, so the checks just kept on coming.
13 Investigates handed over copy after copy of the checks to Garrison.
"If that's not the bureaucracy of government, I mean, it's crazy," said Garrison.
It's crazy, all right.
The Veterans Administration deposited almost $2,000 for drug dealer Terry Goad. Drunk driver Barry Bryson got a $2,000 child support check and we haven't even started talking about what murderer Khris Moore and others got from the IRS. (Moore was among those sent tax checks from the IRS. The IRS wrongly paid inmates a total of $1.4 million. Moore's $428.00 check was detected in November 2009 and sent back to the U.S. Treasury)
No one wants to talk about it on camera. For inmates, that would be admitting another crime. But neither the Social Security Administration nor the IRS would comment.
An recent audit released by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General determined Indiana prisoners made away with more than $1.4 million from fraudulent tax returns in 2009.
"Well, our reaction is the same as yours. It's outrage. We don't want to see any of our offenders, first of all, breaking state or federal law, or getting benefits that they're not entitled to. So we're not happy about it," Garrison told 13 Investigates.
The IRS actually caught 1,300 fraudulent returns filed by Indiana inmates trying to steal $44 million. That includes eight returns traced to a unit at Wabash Valley, from prisoners who are supposed to be on lockdown all but a few hours a day.
The DOC believes most of the tax fraud took place outside of prison with the help of others.
"The address that it was filed from would likely not be the prison," insisted Garrison.
But 13 Investigates discovered checks going directly to the Indiana Women's Prison.
An urgent fax from the Fraud Detection Center at the IRS showed inmates received checks over and over and over again at 401 N. Randolph Street which, at the time, housed the Women's Prison.
13 Investigates found nearly a dozen more sent to 1 Park Row Street in Michigan City - the Indiana State Prison.
"Yes," Garrison admitted the check was sent to the state prison.
"Would not a federal agency have the address to the Michigan City State Prison?" 13 Investigates asked.
"That's a good question. I mean, why were those checks being sent by the IRS to offenders whose names they should have had as being in prison? That's a good question. I don't know. I don't know why," Garrison said. "We're certainly aware of the problem. And we're taking internal steps to fix it."
The IRS is now devising an agreement with the Indiana Department of Correction to allow them to share information about inmates, especially those cashing in behind bars.
The IRS blocked refunds totaling $44.6 million in 2009, but hundreds of thousands of dollars still got through.
The biggest payout went to convicts at Miami Correctional Facility - $520,000. Criminals had filed more than $14 million in fraudulent returns.
The second largest take was from the Central Office Inbound. Seventeen individuals filed for more than $600,000 dollars in refunds. They got $110,000 in refunds.
At the State Prison in Michigan City, which houses death row, $96,000 dollars got through.
Efforts to stop double dipping
The Social Security Administration says recouping suspended payments to prisoners helped the agency to save $872 million in the 2009 calendar year nationwide, coming from 44,671 Social Security payments and 72,417 SSI payments.
Last year in Indiana, 397 Social Security Payments and 362 SSI prisoner payments were suspended. But the agency does not yet have the translated savings amounts available by state.
The IRS takes prisoner refund fraud seriously and has programs to aggressively combat it. The IRS stops the vast majority of incorrect refunds before they go to inmates. In 2009, the IRS stopped 87 percent of improper prisoner refunds – more than $250 million. We devote special scrutiny to prisoner returns and are substantially increasing our enforcement efforts in this area. However it is clear that more needs to be done.
The 2012 President's budget includes a critical legislative proposal to require state and federal prisons to report the status of inmates to the IRS. This would allow the IRS to cross reference tax returns with the list of inmates to determine if a legitimate return is filed, before tax refunds are paid. Without this comprehensive data, there will be gaps in the prison data and compliance problems will persist.
The IRS issues more than 100 million refunds each year to individual filers; the vast majority of these refunds are issued to taxpayers who are entitled to them.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:46 AM EDT2013-05-24 15:46:25 GMT
A woman faces sentencing Friday for her part in the shooting death of a female basketball star. The shooting happened last July at Ben Davis Park on the city's west side. Witnesses say Vincennes UniversityMore >>
A woman faces sentencing Friday for her part in the shooting death of a female basketball star.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:19 AM EDT2013-05-24 15:19:14 GMT
Police are seeking criminal charges against two missing campers who were found on the Indiana National Guard's Camp Atterbury. Bartholomew County sheriff's Maj. Todd Noblitt says the two men, ages 19More >>
Bartholomew County sheriff's Maj. Todd Noblitt says the two men, ages 19 and 20, were found Wednesday after a ground and air search for several hours by police officers and soldiers of the Atterbury grounds near Edinburgh.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 5:02 PM EDT2013-05-24 21:02:40 GMT
A pedestrian was seriously hurt after being struck by a police officer on the east side of Indianapolis. The accident happened around 9:30 p.m. Thursday near the intersection of 42nd Street and EmersonMore >>
The family of Richard Allen Moore told Eyewitness News that he was killed in the accident.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:29 AM EDT2013-05-24 15:29:00 GMT
Authorities say a cat might have started a central Indiana house fire by knocking over a lamp. The fire happened Thursday in the town of Chesterfield just east of Anderson. Chesterfield deputy fire chiefMore >>
Authorities say a cat might have started a central Indiana house fire by knocking over a lamp.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:22 AM EDT2013-05-24 15:22:46 GMT
It will likely be months before a judge rules on whether a new trial should be granted to a man convicted of killing an Indiana University student who disappeared during a 2000 bike ride. A Morgan CountyMore >>
It will likely be months before a judge rules on whether a new trial should be granted to a man convicted of killing an Indiana University student who disappeared during a 2000 bike ride.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 4:20 PM EDT2013-05-23 20:20:10 GMT
One of Indiana's largest health systems says it's cutting an undisclosed number of jobs by June 30 because of increasing economic and competitive pressure on the health care industry. Indianapolis-basedMore >>
One of Indiana's largest health systems says it's cutting an undisclosed number of jobs by June 30 because of increasing economic and competitive pressure on the health care industry.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 3:37 PM EDT2013-05-24 19:37:35 GMT
An act of credit card fraud has been traced back to a downtown Indianapolis restaurant. Some workers upstairs love walking downstairs for a bite at Ike and Jonesy's downtown. But they say the bite isMore >>
The owner of Ike & Jonesy's downtown says he is working to find out how the credit and debit cards of several customers and employees could have been compromised.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 10:26 AM EDT2013-05-24 14:26:01 GMT
Officials with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway tell Eyewitness News that 35 runners from the Midwest who did not complete the Boston Marathon because of the tragedy there will be finishing that race atMore >>
The Speedway invited runners to cross the finish line on race day morning before the start of the race. They will be running from Turn Four across the historic Yard of Bricks.More >>