April 18, 2013 10:03:34 AM
MEMPHIS -- Twenty-four current and former Internal Revenue Service employees have been charged with stealing government benefits, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The IRS employees were indicted on charges that they illegally received more than $250,000 in benefits including unemployment insurance payments, food stamps, welfare, and housing vouchers, the U.S. attorney's office in Memphis said in a news release.
Prosecutors say 13 of the IRS employees face federal charges of lying about being unemployed while applying for or recertifying their government benefits. They each face up to five years in prison if convicted of making false statements to receive the benefits.
Eleven others face state charges of theft of property over $1,000, a felony that can carry a sentence of probation up to 12 years in prison if they are convicted.
"While these IRS employees were supposed to be serving the public, they were instead brazenly stealing from law-abiding American taxpayers," U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton said in a statement.