"MOOCHERS?" on "20/20"
Airs Friday, April 18 on ABC
Americans filed their taxes this week and are hopefully looking forward to some prosperous returns from Uncle Sam. But there are still some people looking to make money the old fashioned way: taking from someone else. "Moochers?" airs on "20/20," FRIDAY, APRIL 18 (10:01 - 11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Reports include:
· Psychic Fraud: Going for a psychic reading is a guilty pleasure for many. But how much are you willing to pay for a peek at the future? Debra Saalfield, Brian James and his mother Mary all find themselves mixed up in bizarre tales of deception that devastates them emotionally and financially. In Bryan's case, a $30 reading turns into a tab of nearly one million dollars. But thanks to former New York cop turned private investigator Bob Nygaard, they all get the chance to turn the tables on their mooching fortune tellers. John Quinones uncovers the dirty little secrets behind the crystal ball.
· Workers Comp Fraud: "20/20" uncovers scores of people faking injuries to claim disability benefits - costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. From Cathy Cashwell, a woman with a so-called debilitating shoulder injury, seen spinning that big wheel on "The Price is Right," to the airline worker with the bad ankle allegedly caught playing tackle football, these con artists are all caught in the act. ABC News Correspondent Cecila Vega rides shotgun with moocher-busting Bob Kiehn, who has a mini-van packed with spy-gear tracking down the culprits. It all leads to a dramatic confrontation between Vega and former New York City cop Vincent Lamantia, one of several 9/11 first responders who have been accused of fraudulently seeking disability benefits.
· Celebrity Moochers: Last week, Oprah Winfrey admitted that she is regularly asked by friends and family for money -- and $50,000 is usually the figure. But that's small change compared to the $1.7 million dollar mansion her stepmother took her to court to keep. From Kobe Bryant, whose mother sold his childhood memorabilia at auction, to Leighton Meester, who sued her mother for custody of her younger brother after she allegedly spent money meant for her brother's medical bills to pay for her own cosmetic surgery, Chris Connelly has the stories of celebrities with freeloading friends and family.
· The Audit: Vincent Burroughs got a little behind on his taxes, and on a warm summer night in Eugene, Oregon, he had a visitor: an IRS agent named Dora Abrahamson. Burroughs says Abrahamson was there to collect, but not on the money he owed Uncle Sam. He says she was there for sex instead. Now he is suing Abrahamson and the United States for sexual coercion. Will taxpayers be footing the bill for what happened in Burrough's bedroom? Chris Connelly with the story of one tax agent who had a very different set of "figures" in mind.
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and David Muir. David Sloan is the senior executive producer.