When Cash For Clunkers was announced in 2009, the federal government promised to keep close tabs on the vouchers that were paid out in exchange for clunkers. Problem is, the program led to 4.3 million taxpayers receiving $7.2 billion if vehicle deductions in the span of only a few months. So it should come as little surprise that some less-than-reputable deals passed through the C4C juggernaut, including vouchers for criminals in jail, dead people and children.
Reuters reports that 4,257 C4C claims were flagged as excessive by the Internal Revenue Service, resulting in $151 million in potentially fraudulent "qualified" deductions. 439 prisoners managed to score $955,843 in sales tax for C4C purchases. Meanwhile, $36,490 in claims reportedly came from beyond the grave, and another 18 people under the age of 15 received a total of $31,139 in deductions. In most states children under 15 aren't allowed by law to purchase a motor vehicle.
While the Cash For Clunkers program was far from squeaky clean, we can still remember the impact the program had on auto sales. We're guessing in spite of the few bad apples, C4C was still a rare win for Uncle Sam.