IRS Agent Puts Guy In Jail For 'Stated Income' Mortgage, Because of Documentary About Charity Run


Here's the worst thing we've read all weekend, and that's saying a lot.

It's the story of a guy who was prosecuted by a rogue IRS agent who literally picks his targets by watching movies and scanning the highways for expensive cars. Ha, sure, why not? And it's also the story of how someone involved with Countrywide's disastrous "stated income loans" (where people were encouraged to say whatever number would make them eligible for these mortgages) was finally sent to prison. CEO slimebag graft artist Angelo Mozilo, who paid a fine from his stockpile and walked away smiling? No, it was this guy:

As a young man, [Charlie] Engle had been a serious drug addict, but after he got clean, he became an ultra-marathoner, one of the best in the world. In the fall of 2006, he and two other ultra-marathoners took on an almost unimaginable challenge: they ran across the Sahara Desert, something that had never been done before. The run took 111 days, and was documented in a film financed by Matt Damon, who served as executive producer and narrator. Mr. Engle received $30,000 for his participation.

The film, “Running the Sahara,” was released in the fall of 2008. Eventually, it caught the attention of Robert W. Nordlander, a special agent for the Internal Revenue Service. As Mr. Nordlander later told the grand jury, “Being the special agent that I am, I was wondering, how does a guy train for this because most people have to work from nine to five and it’s very difficult to train for this part-time.” (He also told the grand jurors that sometimes, when he sees somebody driving a Ferrari, he’ll check to see if they make enough money to afford it. When I called Mr. Nordlander and others at the I.R.S. to ask whether this was an appropriate way to choose subjects for criminal tax investigations, my questions were met with a stone wall of silence.)

The story is by Joe Nocera, the crusading NYT business reporter who is now being shuffled off to the op-ed section, probably to keep from further pissing off the billionaires and their handmaidens at the Justice Department, IRS and Treasury. [New York Times via Wonkette commenter V572 [REDACTED]]


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