A Milwaukee-area businessman said a woman scammed him out of $400,000 through a tax-related scam, telling him he owed back taxes and interest and that he needed help.
The woman, whom residents have not identified, told John Solomon of Western Moline, a small-business owner and satellite television company owner, he owed back taxes and interest, $100,000 in federal student loans and about $450,000 in tax liens filed in 1998.
Solomon’s rental property in the Madison County town of Northland was similarly targeted in 2010 by a man seeking a price for the home, which he sold, $600,000. Once again, the woman decided to cash in his local property, right off the shore.
“She got this all organized, and sure enough, it was her last business day,” Solomon told WBAY. “I got the call, we got a call, we got a call, and it was the same thing, no matter what date it was.”
The woman told Solomon to send $1,425 to her address, with the remainder of his payment going to a relative in New Mexico.
Solomon discovered his money was gone by the time he turned up at her apartment in the morning, along with the woman’s business card that indicated the person was part of her payroll for several weeks.
On Tuesday, Solomon said the woman used his bank account for the first time ever. He said she used it to send bills, collections and letters to specific businesses and government agencies to try to repay his money.
The woman contacted several of Solomon’s businesses on a mobile phone, as well as at his property, as soon as the IRS had processed his return, he said.
Solomon said he told his business representative that he did not have any assets and wanted to be contacted as soon as possible. He said the woman replied that her father was in Europe, but that the woman had been following Solomon and their families for a long time.
Solomon said the money was taken “straight off” of his house.
“She was taking advantage of me,” he said. “I really thought this was a good way to provide some type of income for her so she could pay back those taxes. She had no intention at all of doing that.”
Solomon said he’s now received threats and ruined his reputation. He noted his properties, some of which are occupied, are being foreclosed. He said he’s offered to hire the woman to write checks for the money she stole from him and is also willing to travel to New Mexico to recover the amount he lost.
He is still investing the money, earning $10,000 for the first few months, and hopes to be able to fully recover his losses later this year.
“I’m trying to break this vicious cycle and get all the refunds I need. I could do this forever,” he said. “I’m living out of a bag here because it is actually so traumatic.”
The New Mexico Legislature is investigating Solomon’s incident, as well as similar claims against him in Northland.
“He put his own personal financial interest above his friend’s,” Anthony Camuto, New Mexico’s Public Benefit Administrator, told WBAY. “We’re investigating that scam.”
“I’ve had people say, ‘You guys had an innocent victim,’” he added. “There’s no way I can put that to air, you didn’t do anything wrong.”
Learn more about scams on the national web site AcctisOnline.org.
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