Prosecutor: OC Man Used $110K Tax Refund Error To Pay ‘Various Bills’

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A Laguna Beach man who failed to notify authorities after over $110,000 was mistakenly transferred into his bank account now faces jail time, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Stephen McDow is charged with one felony count of grand theft by misappropriation of lost property — with an enhancement for taking property worth over $65,000 — after finding the money in his own checking account.

mcdow1 Prosecutor: OC Man Used $110K Tax Refund Error To Pay Various Bills

Stephen McDow (courtesy Orange County District Attorney's office)

Prosecutor Matt Lockhart said a filing error was blamed after the Internal Revenue Service transferred it electronically to the wrong person.

But KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports the money didn’t stay in there for very long.

“He received the money on Sept. 10, 2010 and on Sept. 11, 2010 he started spending the money on various bills that he had,” said Lockhart.

Lockhart said the mix-up came after an unnamed Los Angeles woman inadvertently provided the IRS with a Citibank account number that had been closed in 2004 and was subsequently reassigned to McDow.

After attempts were made by the woman’s attorneys to recover the funds, McDow told them he had already spent up to $60,000 of it on car and student loans and to keep his home out of foreclosure, Lockhart said.

McDow faces four years in prison if convicted and is being held on $110,000 bail.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Mary Elizabeth says:

    It should have been reported. My sister, on four different occassions had $1,000 + plus was put into her account in error. Each time, she called the bank to tell them. My sister left the money in the bank until the problem was corrected in which it was each time. Jail time? Umm – why don’t we give him an oppurtunity to first pay the bank back.

    1. Karen says:

      Mary – He spent the money and I hardly think that he has that kind of cash to pay it back. After all, he prevented the foreclosure of his home. Like I said, where do you think he’s going to get the money after he spent it?

    2. Elizabeth Angus says:

      Why should the woman have to take monthly payments of monies that were legally hers. He is the acriminal and she is the victim. Give me a break.

      1. Charles says:

        That may all be true, but if he is in prison, the woman will NEVER get the money that was legally hers. Your and my tax dollars will pay the costs of his incarceration as well.

    3. Mike Pham says:

      $110k refund, the woman must have a lot of money to get that kind of money back (that’s besides the point). If the woman doesn’t accept monthly payments, she might not get it back. The IRS is not going to issue another refund since the woman made the mistake of providing the wrong account number.

      The fact that the man spent money that isn’t his says a lot about his character. He definitely owes this woman her money plus any interest due.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        Thank you, Mike, as a voice of honor and reason. Everyone keeps saying how much money it is…..what does that have to do with it ? It was HER money ! PEriod ! and he knowingly spent it….end of story. Some of the comments say a lot about the character of an awful lot of people on this board. If it was their money, they would be singing a different tune…..!

        The IRS will never issue another check to anyone in this case. There was blame all the way down the line but the bottom line was that it ended up in the bank account of an unscrupulous thief and it should have been corrected starting there. He should have notified the bank there was an unidentified amount of money in his account……

    4. jimc says:

      Because the woman will die long before he pays her off at $200.00 a month.Plus the fact that he is broke!

  2. Anthony Jones says:

    This is a great example of how obsessed we are with incarcerating people. Should he have called the bank to see what happened? yes. But the bank wouldn’t know why the funds were transferred. He has the right to assume the transfer is legal and just, just as when someone takes money out of your account out of nowhere. The poor guy got a windfall, probably thought it was a prayer answered so he took his house out of foreclosure and paid the government for student loans he got, not drugs or whatever. The IRS made the mistake. Put him on a repayment plan, pay her her money, and stop this process of making ALL activity a violation of SOME federal law, then putting nonviolent human beings in that you give gangs and thugs control over. We are dying as a nation from the inside out. Thanks, lawyers, good to see you have plenty of work while your fellow citizens starve and become homeless in your face….

    1. Karen says:

      Anthony

      That is simply not true that the bank would not know WHY the funds were transferred. The bank could tell him that the IRS remitted the deposit of funds. If this fool was really expecting that kind of refund, he has bigger problems than facing jail time.

      Payment plan for $110,000 when his home was in foreclosure?

      I suggest you stay out of the accounting and collections fields.

      1. Gina says:

        You are a very bitter person. It must of been your money! He shouldn’t have to pay anything back. Obviously she’s rich enough to have a 100,000 dollar tax return so what’s the big deal. He used it for living. He didn’t go out an buy a new car, vacation in Italy, or obtain a new boat. It was a temporary blessing. It’s so funny how she would be so stupid as to use a 7 year old bank account. Why would she need to hire lawyers to find her money. Your so rich you don’t have time to call the IRS yourself. You are a very stupid woman to feel any pity for the rich while people are struggling to live. You are the criminal in my eyes.Your just as bitter and evil as this woman who pressed charges. She should have went after the bank. He shouldn’t have to pay anything back.

      2. F Farias says:

        It obviously does not matter what race the woman who lost the money is, how rich she is, she could be a older woman with retirement monies, that were taken and/or she could be a rich woman, that does not change the fact that it is hers if she earned it or was given to her. She still has the only right to her money- the government or someone who receives her money by government mistake, does not.

      3. mcdownotguilty says:

        We are not certain those attempts were not made….Did you see the CBS 2 report he gave…http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/yS/r/wKjaP4AL37H.swf?v=2114657420299&ev=0

    2. Elizabeth Angus says:

      “just as when someone takes money out of your account out of nowhere”…don’t you usually notify the bank that someone has taken your money out of nowhere ? I cna’t believe people are saying he was entitled to this money. I have had monies inadvertantly put in my account and I never touched a dime of it because I knew it wasn’t mine……

  3. Teufel Wolf says:

    He also committed tax evasion. You have to pay income tax on all income both legal and illegal.

    1. Karen says:

      It’s a tad too soon for that, although at the end of this month, the IRS would have expected a deposit for estimated taxes that are due.

    2. heyheyheyy says:

      read the title of the story

  4. greg says:

    Anthony, first he didn’t think it was a windfall, that’s just stupid, he should have kept it separate and if nobody claimed it in 30 days keep it, and what I think is the funniest slap is the bail amount, $110k, hhmm where’d that number come from. The payment plan idea is OK except he couldn’t pay his house payment to expect him to pay the house pmt now and the extra, not going to happen, another case of someone wanting something for nothing.

    1. Gina says:

      Even if he had waited the 30 days the complaint would not have been filed till now. So, I don’t get your point. She shouldn’t be able to file charges period. I would hate to see you get into a desperate situation and think you have come upon some change of luck. Hopefully it will just be some sick trick for you. How can you pity anyone rich. Especially one as idiotic as this woman.

      1. Elizabeth Angus says:

        Gina, you are a very scary person. I really hope you are a troll and just trying to shock everybody with your comments.

      2. greg says:

        Because I’m rich, and mistakes happen to everyone, my point of the 30 days was that I’m sure the mistake would have been caught by then and the money debited, thus no charges as he wouldn’t have spent the money.

    2. mcdownotguilty says:

      Thats to assume that the mortgage payment was the issue. This was during the time when everyone lost their jobs. Check out his exclusive..http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/yS/r/wKjaP4AL37H.swf?v=2114657420299&ev=0

  5. CL says:

    this is rediculous. irs would go after one for every peny and those who work for irs would never feel sorry when u owe something – this case, he wouldn’t be facing jailterms if the funds were not transferred to his account. he didn’t rob that lady, he didn’t lie to the bank and he didn’t cheat the irs. just give him a break and allow him to be on repayment options. yes, he should of contacted the bank and shouldn’t touch the money at the first place….but comon, be realistic now! a sudden huge amount appears on his account while he was in desperate need of it….i just wouldn’t blame all on him!

  6. John Andrews says:

    How is that for Wealth redistribution… Obamanomics

    1. CM says:

      Leave it to ignorant CONS to inject politics.

    2. Elizabeth says:

      Yes, this is what it will be like and the idiots on here who think they won’t have to share what little they have are crazy.

  7. Patrick says:

    He should have put it into a CD or high interest paying account and just kept the interest…they wouldn’t argue with that..

  8. lala63 says:

    Just four years in jail for $110,000? Okay … he is probably okay with that. He took care of bills, house payment, etc. $110,000 divided by four years = $27,400. Probably more than his salary. He will be out of jail in four years with no debts. He probably thinks it’s worth it.

    1. Elizabeth says:

      I would imagine they would still order him to pay restitution. There are no free lunches.

  9. adolfo says:

    I say throw him in the can for not reporting it. He knew it was an error but still spent the money. He deserves what he has coming and oh yeah, let’s sell his house to pay back the money on top of throwing him in jail!

    1. Elizabeth Angus says:

      Best post of all. I agree.

    2. Charles says:

      Then his wife and children will be out of their home with nowhere to go. What did they do wrong?

    3. Gina says:

      Worst post of all. You should pay it….since you are so high and mighty!

      1. Elizabeth A. says:

        Why should I have to pay it ? I didn’t steal something that wasn’t mine to start with. I am not high and mighty, I just have a sense of right and wrong and I want nothing that someone else worked for. Obviously, you do. I am almost 70 years old, work full time and will never be able to retire, I don’t make enough. But, I still pay my taxes for all the deadbeats on welfare and I doggone don’t want something I haven’t worked for.

  10. JOe says:

    They should just go after the money. If a trustee can go after the ill gotten gains of madoff investors then certainly they can go after this pittance.

    1. Sarah says:

      Interesting that IF there really was a mistake that the bank didn’t attempt to get the money back OR the IRS. Neither did. Those two Federal entities did nothing wrong, so they aren’t involved, McDow didn’t didn’t steal the money. It was given to him. The one that is at fault is the woman who put down McDow’s account number to transfer the money to that account. Maybe she should have accepted responsibility and taken the balance and taken payments. He was late on a couple house payments (not in foreclosure yet) and was making the student loan payments. Make those payments to the woman who “gave him the money”.

  11. CM says:

    Just another dumbazz too stupid to live among the rest of us. He knew the money did not belong to him. Let him waste away in prison. No great loss.

  12. Sheila says:

    F U, only the government would make LOST money a crime to keep. FINDERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPER!

    1. CM says:

      Try spending money you FIND in your bank account and see where your dumbazz ends up

    2. Karen says:

      I don’t know the laws in CA on abandoned property but in NY, the FINDER HAS A DUTY to try and return the found property.

      Only after a legal process is the finder “entitled” to keep the money.

      And in NY, you need to get the police involved when you find something super valuable like this.

  13. kutta says:

    First and foremost, the error was with the IRS. They made the mistake without verifying with the recipient of the correct bank information for a large sum transfer. The liability should be partially covered by the IRS for not doing their due diligence. Can the women sue the IRS if the remaining sum has not been recovered?

    1. Karen says:

      Actually, the IRS did not make the mistake. They put the money in an account designated by the taxpayer.

      The refund recipient F’d up. She gave the IRS the wrong account number.

      The people who say he should pay it back MUST be CA legislators. That’s how they treat our budget.

    2. Elizabeth Angus says:

      The IRS processes what they are given. If the account were closed and not reassigned, it would have bounced back. They assume you are smart enough to give a correct bank account number if you want your refund. The bank should have verified the name with the number. No she can’t sue.

      I can’t believe what I am reading by some of you people. That really points up where were are in America today, the kind of moral values we have come to.

  14. John T. says:

    Lesson learned, here . . . never try to bilk the IRS. They will always catch up to you eventually. Very few people actually get away with it.

  15. Bill Brumner says:

    What happens when the IRS “accidentally” charges you for taxes that are not due?

    Well you have to fight for years in hopes that you can be free of that debt, and YOU lose sleep and income. The IRS just charges it to the tax payer.

    Kind of lopsided, huh?

  16. KeithS says:

    Just wondering-assume the guy just let the money sit in his account and it remained there. Is there a time period that could lapse when he could claim it as his? Would he still be in violation of the law if he did nothing or could pay back 100% of the funds? May be good to know in case it happens to me.

    1. greg says:

      60 days, 2 months, no claim it’s yours, the same as if u find a bag o cash in the street and take it to the police station, if nobody claims it in 60 days it belongs to the finder, this crook spent it as soon as he saw it, no pity, he knew it wasn’t his

  17. Mary Elizabeth says:

    How much does it cost to houe an inmate with tax payer money?
    Type of Expenditure
    Per Inmate Costs

    Security
    $19,663

    Inmate Health Care
    $12,442

    Medical care
    $8,768

    Psychiatric services
    1,928

    Pharmaceuticals
    998

    Dental care
    748

    Operations
    $7,214

    Facility operations (maintenance, utilities, etc.)
    $4,503

    Classification services
    1,773

    Maintenance of inmate records
    660

    Reception, testing, assignment
    261

    Transportation
    18

    Administration
    $3,493

    Inmate Support
    $2,562

    Food
    $1,475

    Inmate activities
    439

    Inmate employment and canteen
    407

    Clothing
    171

    Religious activities
    70

    Rehabilitation Programs
    $1,612

    Academic education
    $944

    Vocational training
    354

    Substance abuse programs
    313

    Miscellaneous
    $116

    Total
    $47,102

    I say let the bank deal with it – it was their error – let the guy make payments. He probably did think it was Heaven sent. As stated above in the first comment, my sister got excited to see that extra money in her bank too – she thought it was, in her words, “A miracle.” But then quickly realized it was too good to be true. This guy didn’t think this fast.

  18. El Chepo says:

    execute him immediately!

  19. Ron Balandran says:

    he wont do fours years more like 2//half years

  20. Sarah says:

    This story has been updated, he tried to return the balance that was left and set up a payment plan for the balance. The “victim” refused his offer.
    A 67 year old woman gets a $110,000 refund. Are we over paying Social Security? A rich person makes a mistake (wrong account number), the poor person (thinking it was a miracle) tries to right the wrong and the rich steps on him. Sounds normal. Sure he shouldn’t have spent it, but really if this woman gets a refund of over 100,000 bucks she could have taken payments.
    Interesting there isn’t a single comment from the guy everything is from the DA – GEE they never get any facts wrong! ha

  21. ELISE LANCRAIN says:

    WHATEVER HAPPENED TO “DOING THE RIGHT THING”? hE KNEW THE MONEY WASN’T HIS BUT HE TOOK IT ANY WAY. lIKE THE IRS IS NOT GOING TO COME AFTER IT? IF YOU ARE IN DEBT YOU ARE AT FAULT AND NOBODY OWES YOU TO GIVE YOU A FREE RIDE. THE RIGHT THING IS TO SEND A LETTER TO YOUR BANK AND COPY THE IRS AND SEND IT CERTIFIED SO YOU KNOW THEY HAVE IT. DON’T SPEND A DIME OF THAT MONEY …LEAVE IT BE AND WHEN THEY RESEARCH THE ERROR THEY WILL TAKE IT BACK AND YOU WILL HAVE DONE THE RIGHT THING. THINK OF THAT LADY THAT WAS DEPENDING ON THAT REFUND. SPENDING MONEY THAT IS NOT YOUR IS STEALING. 4 YEARS OF PRISON NO BIG DEAL? HOW ABOUT YOU USED TO BE BRKE AND HAVING A HARD TIME NO YOU ARE JUST A THIEF.

    1. Mary Elizabeth says:

      You seem to be a good woman. Good comment.

    2. Sarah says:

      Wow. Do you always yell?
      There are aspects to this case that are not being printed as yet. Do you see that the only side being reported is that of the DA? Nobody should judge until the whole story comes out.

  22. Susan says:

    Does anyone else find it disturbing that a bank would reassign an old account number? Shouldn’t they just, well, not be reused?

    1. sarah says:

      Yeah that isn’t such a great thing either.

  23. Mike A. says:

    Someone please tell me how I can get my $110,000 refund from the IRS. How much cash must one greedily horde to get this kind of money from the gov’t?

    1. Mark says:

      Let me put it this way….she is VERY wealthy and has politicians in her pocket.

  24. Cindy says:

    If he goes to jail so should the person who made the mistake. didn’t the people in the bank know to match the name with the account? I know every time an out of the ordinary amount of money goes into my account, the bank double and triple checks it out. and I also think that the people who are making such a big deal about this should be jailed for slander and publicly embarrassing someone. don’t you think the guy has bee through enough? you should be ashamed of yourselves. get a grip, sorry everyone isn’t as successful in life as you. God doesn’t like ugly and you too will pay for your actions. you cold hearted B@#%CH!!!

    1. Pinar says:

      She is 67 years old Cindy. She can make mistakes. Do you have no sympathy no respect for the elderly? I think it is you who is the B&%@H!

      1. Sarah says:

        When is 67 elderly? I better go get a walker now. I still carry a full time job, hike, camp and have a very active life.

      2. Cindy says:

        Pinar- thank you!! It took a long time but, finally people are seeing what I’ve worked so hard to become. thank you I take it as a complement. a well deserved one.:) and while your at it would you mind putting a Mrs. in front of the B*%@h. I prefer it that way.

    2. Elizabeth Angus says:

      God doesn’t like thiefs or stupid either.

      Just because someone got a big refund doesn’t mean they acquired it “greedily”. Maybe she worked for it and just may be she was cashing in investments to pay her way in an assisted living home or may be her grandson needed a heart transplant and she was paying for it….you basxxxx want something for nothing unless it happens to you, than listen to you moan and whine.

      She is out the money. He spent it. The IRS issued the money in good faith and I don’t think they are going to pursue getting it back or issue another check. That is why she had lawyers involved. Take his house, i don’t think they can, can they ? He deserves jail time and a lot of it.

      Some of you make me really, really sick with your display of greed and wanting something for nothing.

  25. Cindy says:

    BTW my last comment was directed towards ELISE LANCRAIN, Mary Elizabeth, CM and any of you other cold hearted B@#%ches I left out.

  26. CD says:

    I am so offended over what this guy has done. We live in a civilized society and his actions are totally crazy. He is a thief and simply disgusting. I do not care why this woman was getting a large refund – It is HER money and NO ONE has the right to STEAL from another.

    Would you trust this thief near your money?? I am simply dismayed that anyone could remotely justify what he has done. He clearly knew that this was not his money. The money was placed into his account on September 10 and he began spending it on September 11. Wow!! He wasted no time in spending his ill-gotten gain. He did not wait one full day to see the who, what and why of this money. It is persons like this who feel that society owes them something for nothing that disgusts me.

    Just for the record, to prevent any of the usual race card playing, I am an African-American working class male that lives in Los Angeles. This thief is an embarrassment and should go to jail for the full four years to send a message that this type of behavior will not be excused. Additionally, all assets that he has (i.e. the home that the paid for, the car that be spend money on) should be immediately claimed by those representing the victim in this case. Yes, there is a victim in this case and it is a sixty-seven year old senior citizen.

    We as a society must have minimum morals and values and this is a case where we all should stand up and say that this is wrong and will not be tolerated in a civilized society.

    1. Elizabeth Angus says:

      Another excellent post. I want to figuratively shake your hand. Wrong is wrong. What is there about “wrong” that some of you people don’t understand ?

      ps-I would go after the bank with those lawyers.

    2. dk says:

      This 67 year old is a professional career woman that didn’t ask the IRS where the money was for many months. If I was waiting for 110,000 I would have looked for it before 6 months had passed. Sarah was right, wait for the full story. I am sure all you high and mighty OMG people have at sometime in your life made a decision that wasn’t right and had to rectify it. How do you know he spent it in one day? Because a politician said so. Wiener said his twitter account was hacked. OOPS that was a lie. Let’s ask Rodney King hop honest the police and politicians are. The guy is convicted before he can even say anything, the only words coming out is for a DA, is he up for re-election. I am offended that you have decided about the guilt before you hear the whole story. It was her money – she used the wrong account number, ask a banker about it. They will tell you if it is transferred into your account electronically and the accounts match up there is no reason to think there is a mistake., It could be Aunt Mary putting money into your account. You are making an assumption the he is a person that feels society owes him. Where did that FACT come from? Now if he is found innocent we will never hear another thing about this story. I am dismayed that you can’t look at innocent until proven guilty.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        Where does it say she was a professional woman ? I missed that, though it doesn’t matter. I missed the part about the six months, too. Where are you getting all of this info? It still doesn’t change the fact that there were a series of mistakes made and the end result was that he spent money that wasn’t his. He admitted it, for Gods sake ! But, in true left coast fashion, the victim becomes the one who is blamed…..

        I have never heard of an old account number being reassigned but, I guess it does happen. Not good controls in place, I would say.

        I would sue the guy and I would make him pay and he would serve time if he can’t. Withhold ajudication and if he doesn’t pay on a regular basis, slap his butt in jail.

    3. bil R says:

      I highly doubt that the above post was written by a black man!

  27. Kevin says:

    Now days you can go to jail for anything. I believe the guy should NOT have spent the money, since it wasn’t his, regardless if he thought this was “miracle money” or not. At the same time, I don’t believe he should go to jail for this. The guy is not a harden criminal that murder or hurt someone physically. Rather he just took a stupid chance.

    He should definitely be on a repayment program that pays the IRS back, WHILE the IRS first clears the debt with the lady themselves (since IRS made the mistake). There’s no reason why the lady needs to deal this issue with the guy personally.

    Also look, the guy can work and is WILLING to work, he didn’t spent the money on drugs or what not. He spent it on his own loans, and yes I know some of you guys will say that its his fault for getting those loans and what not. But don’t judge, because you don’t know his situation. What you do know is that he can work and not a drug addict. So why put a normal capable person that took made a dumb mistake to jail for 4 years (2 years with good behavior) when that only waste taxpayers money (me and you), the government lose tax money from him if he worked, and the old lady is still out of her money.

    Yes he made a mistake, but people have to realize that locking people up is not the end all be all solution. There’s other more effective ways to do things.

    1. Larry says:

      The voice of reason.

  28. Cindy says:

    If you walk into a bank and hand the teller a note saying give me all the money, that is bank robbery. the going rate of jail time for that is 3 years in prison. If you go into a bank and hand a teller a note saying give me all the money I have a a gun, that is considered “Armed robbery” the going rate for that crime is 7 years in prison. This man did not rob a bank. so why would he be threatened with a sentence of 4 years? The man told the truth. When the mistake was found he confessed he didn’t try to lie about it. how many people cheat on there taxes and the IRS takes years to collect the money. I’m sure they probably don’t want the money anyway, they would rather you pay the interest for the rest of your life than to owe them nothing. so, the part that just baffles my brain is, why is this man being treated differently? is it because he told the truth? and no one knows how to handle it? This kind of reminds me of that one presidential election when the votes were really counted. and no one knew how to handle it. all of a sudden they were counting some states votes twice, convicted felons votes now counted . that was obviously a great cover up for someones great big F-Up. now this is so obvious that some one really F-up really bad and trying to cover it up real quick and probably didn’t expect this to get so big. Well, its big now and like I said from the beginning, who ever made the big mistake should be treated just like the poor guy who thought he won the lottery for a second. everyone keeps saying, he wont loose his house like o.k. they wont take back the payments that he made with the 67 year old lady’s money but, for god sakes people, use your brains here if he gets a 4 year sentence and does only half of that because he is good etc., etc that will be 2 years of no payments being made on his house. so yes, he will loose his house, he could loose everything he has his wife, children, job etc etc. so for all you “Cold
    hearted b%#@*es” leave the guy alone let him make payments and leave that guy and his life alone. aren’t there more important things going on in the world that you could be sticking your nose into. like the fact that our country is becoming corrupt to the point of no fixing. our president is smoking pot, our governor is committing adultery, our police are not protecting us, our teachers are molesting our children, us citizens are killing us citizens. husbands are killing wives children are killing children, and so on and so on and so on and all you can worry about is a hard working man trying to make ends meet, makes a mistake.

    1. mcdownotguilty says:

      http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/yS/r/wKjaP4AL37H.swf?v=2114657420299&ev=0 did you see his exclusive with CBS 2…This situation sucks….

  29. rk says:

    I dont think the punishment fits the crime. The real criminals are the IRS and Citibank for not updating their records and putting these two in this mess. Besides the guy didnt go on some shopping spree, he was trying to pay back student loan and random bills. BILLS! Yeah criminal gain right there.

  30. greg says:

    One thing the post shows is how angry everyone is to anyone with more than they have. 1st. $110k is not a fortune 2nd. If she has it she or her spouse EARNED it, a foreign concept around here 3rd. Just because she can afford it doesn’t mean she has to accept it (payments) 4th. He stole it, period end of story, how it got to his acct. or who messed up doesn’t matter, it’s NOT HIS!! PS Jealousy is really ugly

    1. Cindy says:

      Greg- I am not saying what he did was right. I know he was wrong for what he did. the money was not his to spend and he knew it at the time of spending it.
      but, what I am saying is, the attention it has caused to him is not necessary.

      “I think” he dosn’t deserve to be punished in the way everyone seems to think he does.
      Hey times are tough. we do dumb things when we get desperate. .maybe some things seem alittle more extreme than others but, the fact of the matter is he was desperate in a time of need and atleast he didn’t go out and hurt anyone, endanger anyones safety to get what he needed it just kind of fell in his lap and he took advantage of the situation this has turned into a debate on who thinks there solution is right and in turn everyone else has to be wrong. In “my opinion” there is no right or wrong there are just a bunch of coulda, shoulda, woulda’s and whats done is done. I just hope the guy doesn’t go to prison over it. because he will loose everything. somethings he will be able to get back some he wont and the one thing I know he will never get back is, the “not knowing” what goes on inside the prison system. once you loose that you can never get it back.
      I don’t think the lady should have to wait any longer for her money. again, in my opinion I think the IRS should write her another check and let the “theif”(JK) pay the payments to the IRS. Yes the money is rightfully the ladies there should be no question about if she really needs it or how she got it. that is none of our business- White American Princess aka Bi*%ch

      1. Martin says:

        If you watch the video of his interview you will see he didn’t know it wasn’t his. Everyone has made their mind up without hearing both sides.

  31. Hoi Ki Ding says:

    He should have known this money was not his and should have checked it out with the bank and the authorities before spending it blindly. Now he is in more trouble than before.

    1. sarah says:

      He did check it out with the bank.

  32. Chuck says:

    I don’t understand why the penalty for this is so steep. had mr. McDow did anything at all to extort, steal, or con them for the money, yes. it would be a heinous crime. Simply being in the right spot at the right time is hardly a condition that should carry such a heavy load. Further, it should be more the bank’s responsiblity to make sure the funds were placed in the proper account. I have had funds disappear, only to not kept the reciept, and had them tell me, ‘well we are sorry’ there is nothing we can do.’There should be a law to protect people that need money badly enough they would consider keeping it. At the very least, the bank should offer him some sort of easy repayment plan, and without interest, and take some of the burden themselves. It has come down in this country, that business is protected by some sort of golden shield, while the small man is destroyed daily. Look at what they can do to you with a credit report! It does not matter how bogus or misleading the information is, once it is on your credit report, you are scarred!
    I think if Mr. McDow gets a good lawyer, he can stand a good chance of beating them. If all else fails, have him drown them, then bury thie bodies in the nearby woods. That seems to work.

  33. GLENN says:

    INOT HIS FAULT IT hER fAULT

  34. Glenn says:

    it’s not his fault ot’s her fault

  35. Glenn says:

    it’s not his fault it’s her fault

  36. Jeff says:

    First off. It’s the lady’s fault for not updating the IRS with her bank information.
    If you file a tax return with the wrong address and you never receive the tax return check? Who’s fault is it?. Yours. She failed to update her information.
    She was irresponsible with her money especially a sum that large. The account was closed in 2004. She had a full 6 years to update the IRS with her information.

    Second, the IRS failed to check whether the account’s owner is indeed the correct recipient.

    Third, it may be true that the guy spent the money but honestly not everyone in the world knows you have to wait 60 days for someone to claim it (Heck, I didn’t even know about it till now) and not everyone in the world trusts the police either (even though we are suppose to) with the corruption we have with state government employees. He did not spend it on luxuries, he spent it paying off his debts. When the woman followed up with her lawyers and he offered to repay what he spent in monthly installments but she was unhappy with it and escalated the situation to get him jailed. He tried to appease the situation and repay her within his means.

    While some of you say it is “her money” which I do not deny, she was irresponsible with it. He had done nothing illegal to obtain the money and made attempts to pay back and amend the issue.

    You have this situation where everyone is at fault: the lady, the IRS, and the recipient. However the majority of the fault lies with the lady who failed to update the IRS with correct information after the account was closed for a full 6 years.

    A simple solution since the IRS does bear some responsibility in this error is for the IRS pay the lady her due amount and set up a repayment plan for the man to make payments back to the IRS. No one get hurt.

    It is offending how so many people want to ruin a person’s life who is just raising a family and stumbled across what he believed to be a blessing and pay off his debts. Can you imagine the hardships you would put his family though by sending the man to jail for 2~4 years and the difficulties of finding a job after having felony of grand theft on your record. You are basically taking man who wants to make amends for stuff that happens because of your mistake and ruin their lives.

  37. Elizabeth says:

    This is still going on. The man in essence STOLE the womans money and now doesn’t really want to give it back, except on his terms. What if she has a terminal illness and needs that money…? I haven’t seen anybody address that, just “finders keepers”. I can bet you you would not feel that way if it was your money and if your were honest, you would admit that.

    What has happened to morals and the right thing to do ? Two or three wrongs do not make a right……the man knew the money wasn’t his or he was really stupid, uneducated and just plain ignorant.

    I say burn him…….and maybe it will stop one of you all from stealing someone elses money when you know it isn’t yours from the gitgo..

    1. mcdownotguilty says:

      You assume that this was not just the perfect storm. Her mistake during an economic crisis where he was reaching out for help…..I heard his report and it would seem that McDow and the other side need to work out an agreement. http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/yS/r/wKjaP4AL37H.swf?v=2114657420299&ev=0

    2. Sarah says:

      Did you see…..the rest of the story? He had applied for government loans, several of them, all of a sudden THE GOVERNMENT put money in his account. HE THOUGHT IT WAS FROM THE LOAN HE APPLIED FOR! So he paid the bills that the money was suppose to be used for. He didn’t go shopping or partying or on a vacation —- he paid the bills that he had told the government he needed the money for. It was a mistake, OMG Elizabeth I certainly hope that the rest of us can grow up to be as perfect as you are! Is he suppose to pull the money out of his ass? He had tried to give back every cent that he didn’t use to pay the bills and then make payment arrangements for the balance. Really “burn him” aren’t you a loving and compassionate person? I hope your kids have more sense than you do.

  38. mcdownotguilty says:

    Stephen McDow didn’t commit a crime, he didn’t steal the money…http://didstephenmcdowstealthe110k.wordpress.com/

  39. Elizabeth says:

    Had a relative that was in a similar situation. My attitude then was “you should have known better”. I am a very understanding person who has worked my fingers to the bone over my lifetime…I don’t have much but every dime of it, I worked hard for. I sacrificed leisure time, time with my children, to be able to be self suffcient and provide for my children. No, I don’t have much patience with the entitlement generation. I have been in the position of a single parent, 3 children, one 6 months old and didn’tt know how I was going to pay their school lunch money…..no, I didn’t put them on a reduced lunch program. People need to step up to plate and take responsibility for their actions.

    1. Sarah says:

      Where did it say he thought he was entitled? Did you read that he thought the money came from applications he placed? Rather than be so set that he intentionally did something wrong what don’t you look at the whole picture and really be the “very understanding person” you say you are.

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