Federal Government Dishes Out $119,000 in Fraudulent Tax Returns to Arizona Rapist Serving Life Sentence. Oops.

While the inefficiency of the Internal Revenue Service is enough to make most Americans want to bang their heads against a wall (or fly an airplane into one of its offices), it's paid off nicely for an Arizona man currently serving a life sentence at a Maine prison.

Troy Fears, 54, a convicted rapist from Arizona, ended up incarcerated in Maine as part of an inmate swap after serving time at a prison in Oregon. While in the Oregon prison, Fears managed to swindle about $119,000 from the federal government, including federal stimulus funds -- and the IRS never caught it. Rather, a guard intercepted some of his mail and handed it over to federal authorities.

Between 2005 and 2009, federal prosecutors say, Fears submitted fake W-2s claiming he had worked and had taxes withheld. He had the money electronically deposited into bank accounts he controlled from the joint -- and the IRS apparently never questioned it.

Fears has been in one prison or another since 1976, when he was 19, serving a 60 years to life sentence for two separate cases of rape with a deadly weapon. His sentence was elevated to life without parole after he was convicted of assault while in prison -- and now, thanks to his tax scheme, he can tack nearly five years onto his sentence, which probably isn't a huge concern for a guy already doing life without parole.

According to the Kennebec Journal, Fears was sentenced today to 57 months in federal prison after being found guilty of making false claims to the Treasury Department and misusing Social Security numbers.

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James King
Contact: James King