By Tony Hanson

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A former IRS employee was sentenced to 19 years in prison this week for a series of tax refund schemes that cost the government and taxpayers about $3 million.

Federal prosecutor Joseph Kahn says 36-year-old Patricia Fountain used inside information and training to orchestrate a massive scheme to file false claims on behalf of hundreds and hundreds of taxpayers, who paid a fee and were assured their refunds and credits were legal.

“This was a blatant abuse of trust and it was important to send a message that you can’t corrupt your public office and walk away with a slap on the wrist,” says Kahn.

He says the scheme was uncovered, in part, because Fountain threatened taxpayers who refused to pay the fee, the kickback, and one of these people blew the whistle on her, alerting authorities at the Treasury Department.

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