New tax credit fraud evidence calls for investigating roles played by high ranking OTC and other state officials.
May 7, 2009
Is the reason state officials in 2006 ignored and are again ignoring their responsibility to recovery $millions in public funds taken illegally -- because they have some of that money?
In early 2006 state officials turned their backs on widely reported tax credit abuses. While acknowledging there was wrong, state officials justified their own lack of action by claiming they knew of nothing illegal occurring. They went on to say they would close the loopholes. Yet the secrecy of the program remains, denying the public access to the evidence.
Now that previously hidden evidence has surfaced showing Oklahoma Industrial Venture Capital Company LLC and Scissortail Capital Company LLC were two of at least 12 out of 21 funds that filed inflated investment claims for 2006. For two years this has remained hidden from the public and we are expected to believe went undetected. What is more believable considering the circumstances is these false claims went undetected by design.
The tax credit investment program operates in a self-serve free standing style with no state official or agency providing oversight or accountability. Only the tax commission is involved. This program costing the public $100s millions is so lacking in accountability all the documents for the entire program fits in the flap of a brief case. The entire body of information could easily be the domain of one individual and only occupy a small amount of time. With the secrecy requirement other OTC employees would have no reason for suspicions as long as this was a high level member of OTC.
The shell games used in an attempt to disguise while easily confusing the average person that hasn't done their homework shouldn't fool anyone that has done their homework and has the information.
The glaring fact that cannot be ignored -- are we to believe that over one-half if not more fund managers would risk the consequences of being caught filing a false claim if they thought their claims would be subjected to responsible scrutiny? If we believe that then we have to believe there are people attempting fraud every place.
According to the state ethics commission Oklahoma law allows public officials to profit from state funded programs. These same state officials who are free to profit are the ones insisting all information be withheld from the public allowing them to claim they know of "nothing illegal" occurring and defend the program as good for the state's economy. Who is to question what we don't know? Isn't that blind trust? Isn't that what the framers of our constitution tried to protect us against? Isn't that our responsibility to protect our children's rights to expect?
This has all the signs of public officials reaping huge unearned profits from public funds as long as they can keep the public uninformed. The financial shell games used to confuse and disguise are only effective as long as the information can be kept secret.