In a recent front-page story, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a news item about a citizen who effectively stole $700,000 from the Wisconsin Shares program. This is a state run program that shells out money to just about everyone who completes the paperwork. You don't have to do anything at all to earn it other than to from the government and the taxpaying citizens of the state. The cases that have come to light have shown that there are no consequences criminally for cashing in on this generous program. After all, it's for the children.
I don't know the name of the citizen, and frankly I don't care. While it is doesn't matter. It's all the cases being handled and reported which makes it worth mentioning. This scum bucket noble citizen steals $700,000 (that's the amount he was caught with) and his only crime is that he did not report it when he declared bankruptcy. Being that the non reporting was the only crime and not the taking of the $700,000 from the taxpayers, he only has to spend six months in jail. Does that make it a felony? Maybe not. As an added bonus for the entrepreneurship, this model citizen gets to keep all but $40,000. So after a six-month jail sentence, he gets to come back to $640,000 of it plus whatever debts had been discharged in his bankruptcy case. That sounds like a pretty good deal. The newspaper didn't even mention the best part, he gets first rate health care coverage while he's in jail. There just isn't a downside to this.
In the few cases that have come to light as a result of defrauding the Wisconsin Shares program, I have yet to read where someone has actually been held responsible enough to pay back the money they have ripped off from the taxpayers. As a second person gone to jail? Even the person in Menominee Falls who stole over $1 million, built a $3 million mansion, burned it, is still free. And probably living off the money that was embezzled.
Where is the fairness and accountability to taxpayers? There doesn't appear to be any. The taxpayers of this state will just be forced to pay more. The program rarely ever shuts down participants even when it is clear that they are confronting the state. Why doesn't the legislature do anything about this? They are always too preoccupied with thinking that there toughening drunk driving laws. They don't even have a law on the books that would require people defrauding the state of these social programs to pay them back. That is a crime. But it is a crime that pays. It pays big to the people who will fill out the paperwork to defraud the state.