Former President Barack Obama somehow fleeced American taxpayers for millions of dollars and hid the money in offshore bank accounts using an alias, a fake news story claimed.
"Obama tax audit exposes MILLIONS in offshore accounts stolen from taxpayers," read the headline on an April 4, 2017, post on FederalistTribune.com. Facebook users flagged the story for possibly being fake, as part of the social media site’s efforts to combat fake news.
Out of the gate, we’ll note the story is fake.
It said that the United States Treasury paid $411 million for "Royalty Payments for Obamacare" to a limited liability corporation owned by someone named Barry Soetero.
The money was for the author of Obamacare for "expenses and royalties associated with naming the bill." The story said Obama was the bill’s author and therefore, he is the one collecting this $411 million. The conspiratorial implication is that Obama actually is Soetoro. (Soetoro is the name of Obama's stepfather, Lolo Soetoro.)
FederalistTribune.com said the money was split among accounts in the Cayman Islands, Ireland and Caledonia. That last one is actually the name the Roman Empire gave to the region that is now Scotland.
Among other claims in the disjointed post is a citation for an April 4 missive on FreedomsFinalStand.com, which said Obama had denied using the Soetoro alias many times. FreedomsFinalStand.com said that these contrived royalty payments were stopped after Obamacare was renamed the Affordable Care Act.
That’s a patently absurd assertion about the law officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and was later dubbed Obamacare by skeptical Republicans to taunt Obama.
But let’s go back even farther: It appears this post first breached the Internet as a March 11 post on TheLastLineOfDefense.org, a site we know was designed to troll conservatives with faux news made up to stoke ire on political issues. The parody website has been the source of several fake news stories that we’ve previously checked.
The site’s articles quite often end up being passed around on multiple websites, usually without an indication that they are fake.
TheLastLineOfDefense.org doesn’t immediately indicate that any of its stories are fake, either. But its About Us link notes that "all articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney."
It’s difficult to say whether the other sites are in on the joke or not. FederalistTribune.com’s Contact Us link doesn’t seem to perform any action, and FreedomsFinalStand.com doesn’t appear to have contact information at all. Both sites are privately registered, with no personal contact information.
At any rate, the tale of Obama using an alias to bilk millions from the U.S. Treasury for naming his signature health care law was made up.
We rate the statement Pants On Fire!