What Chance Does the Little Guy Have?


The little guy is in prison while the big guy goes scot free.

Joe Nocera’s recent New York Times column about financial fraud is a must-read, and the story outraged me.

Here is why. Unless you have been targeted by the IRS, you simply do not understand how powerful they and our government really are.

Several years ago I was audited. I will not go into all the nuances. I protested that I was innocent and that the government had made a mistake.

I spent $38,000 in accounting and legal fees trying to make my point. In the end (after 20 months of discussion which I would term harassment but perhaps my point of view is biased), the government agreed. Well actually they never really agree, but they did revise the tax return, and they GAVE ME BACK $459.

I called up the agent and I asked if I could have the $38,000 back as well since I had to spend it, and I won the case. What I learned is that the government does not pay up when they are wrong. When they send the wrong guy to prison for 10 years and then the DNA exonerates him, they do not give him back those 10 years.

In my case, I was more than willing to let the $38,000 go. All I wanted was an apology.

A what!

Are you out of your fracking mind? An apology? What are you smoking and worse, are you inhaling?

Needless to say, I did not get my apology.  As a matter of fact, I am somewhat reluctant to tell this story since maybe the government will come looking again.

It is a sad commentary that we fear our government rather than embrace and celebrate it. These are difficult times in our country, and I suspect that most people feel the way I do. We are afraid of getting caught up in some terrible web of misunderstanding, mistakes or wrongful whatever.

Nocera’s piece is frightening and maddening. Angelo Mozillo, former CEO of Countryside, laughs all the way to the bank, and this guy goes to jail. Something is wrong.  Maybe we need to stop being afraid and speak up. It’s ironic that the citizens of Egypt, Libya and Yemen seem to be more willing to challenge their government than we do .

I did cash the $459 government check. It did not bounce although that may not be the case in a few months.

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