Fears of rebate fraud appear unfounded

Dave McTeer, the Nevada's deputy chief of Information Technology who is handling the tax rebate program for Gov. Kenny Guinn, says fears that thieves would find ways to take large numbers of rebate checks have proven unfounded.

"I suspect if we were going to have any massive thefts, they would have already occurred," he said Tuesday.

McTeer said there was one attempted forgery of a rebate check in Las Vegas, but the thief's own ignorance and the amateur appearance of the check foiled the attempt.

"He made the check for $300, and the maximum we were giving is $275," said McTeer.

The bank refused to cash the forged check.

The other incident, he said, involved an apartment complex multiple-mailbox which had apparently been tampered with. The mail carrier waited two days until the box was repaired before delivering checks there.

He said there have been no reports of people stealing checks out of mailboxes or of other such crimes.

McTeer said the majority of the 1.8 million checks mailed two weeks ago have been cashed.

He said those deserving a check who didn't get one in the first round of mailings should receive the money in December. That includes seniors who still have a driver's license but no registered vehicle, and both business people and individuals whose vehicle registrations were due early in the year and paid before Jan. 1. He said the seniors number about 114,000, and expects up to 50,000 early-registration checks will have to be mailed.

After those checks are mailed, McTeer said the process of reissuing checks that didn't get to the right party will begin. He said quite a few checks mailed to the wrong address because some one moved have already been returned to the state.

When the rebate program is completed, the state will have returned nearly $300 million in excess tax revenue to Nevadans. Rebating vehicle registration fees was chosen because Nevada has no income tax or other convenient levy to identify taxpayers.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.


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