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Avoid These Tax Protest Scams Like You Would Avoid The Plague
On a daily basis, we learn about various tax protest scams who will only succeed in leading you down a path of destruction. All of them perpetuate over the Internet. They run from the utterly absurd to the completely ridiculous, from the convicted felons to the merely looney. The bottom line is that ALL of the arguments are complete works of fiction and none have any validity whatsoever. What is certainly most amusing is how each of sites tells you why the other supposed tax experts are quacks. Do yourself a huge favor. Please avoid all of these individuals, organizations and their sites as they are all woefully wrong and will run for the hills when the IRS starts taking your possessions or brings criminal charges against you.
This list and page will be updated as time permits.
THE BIG FOUR
1) Irwin Schiff (ISchiff.com, PayNoIncomeTax.com)
Guess who moved to the top of the list yet again? Our old buddy Irwin was convicted on October 24, 2005 by a federal jury in Las Vegas, Nevada along with two associates, Cynthia Neun and Lawrence Cohen, of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns filed by other taxpayers in connection with a tax scam, and convicted Schiff and Neun of conspiring to defraud the United States, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. Schiff was convicted on all counts, including income tax evasion and of filing false income tax returns for the years 1997 through 2002, and Neun was convicted of willfully failing to file federal income tax returns, Social Security disability fraud, and theft of government property in connection with Neun’s improper receipt of Social Security disability benefits.
This marks the third time Schiff has been convicted of tax offenses. “Paying taxes is the price of citizenship. After three strikes, I would hope that even Mr. Schiff realizes that he has struck out,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson.
Mr. Schiff-who faces a maximum sentence of 43 years in prison and $3.25 million in fines-was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 20, 2006 at 10:30 A.M. Ms. Neun-who faces up to 50 years in prison and up to $3.3 million in fines-was remanded pending a bail hearing tomorrow. Neun’s sentencing is scheduled for January 27, 2006 at 9:00 A.M. Mr. Cohen-who was released on bond-is due to be sentenced on January 27, 2006 at 9:30 A.M. He faces three years incarceration and up to a $250,000 fine.
Pennsylvania Attorney Dan Evans states the following about Mr. Schiff:
Irwin Schiff served time in federal prison for income tax evasion. While he was in prison, the IRS took the royalties from the sale of his book to pay his back taxes. For a fairly complete history of the losses of Irwin Schiff against the United States tax system, see Schiff v. United States, 919 F.2d 830 (2nd Cir. 1990); United States v. Schiff, 876 F.2d 272 (2nd Cir. 1989); United States v. Schiff, 801 F.2d 108 (2nd Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 480 U.S. 945 (1987); Schiff v. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 780 F.2d 210 (2nd Cir. 1985); Schiff v. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 766 F.2d 61 (2nd Cir. 1985) (per curiam); Schiff v. Commissioner, 751 F.2d 116 (2nd Cir. 1984) (per curiam); United States v. Schiff, 647 F.2d 163 (2nd Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 835 (1981); United States v. Schiff, 612 F.2d 73 (2nd Cir. 1979).
Irwin Schiff also once made the mistake of appearing on television and offered to pay $100,000 to anyone who can identify the sections of the Internal Revenue Code that impose any liability for tax. A man named Richard Newman identified sections 1, 6012, 6151, 6153, 7201, 7202 and 7203 in a telephone call to the television station the following morning and then sued Schiff when he refused to pay the $100,000. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Newman was right about the tax laws and that Schiff’s claim was “ridiculous,” but ruled for Schiff under principles of contract law, because Newman did not telephone the television station with the correct answer within the time specified in Schiff’s offer. Neuman v. Schiff, 778 F.2d 460 (8th Cir. 1985).
Students of Mr. Schiff have not fared any better.
“At his criminal trial, Mr. Letscher testified that he filed tax returns and paid his taxes until 1980. In 1981, he began listening to and reading materials prepared by Irwin Schiff, a tax protester. Strarting from late 1980, Mr. Letscher attended several seminars hosted by Mr. Schiff. He also subscribed to newsletters prepared by Mr. Schiff. On the basis of information from Mr. Schiff and Mr. Letscher’s own research, Mr. Letscher decided not to file any more tax returns because he could not find any law which required him to do so.” United States v. Letscher, KTC 1999-648 (U.S.D.C. S.D.N.Y. 1999), (footnotes and citations omitted).
Mr. Letscher was convicted of both willful failure to file and tax evasion and was sentenced to 33 months imprisonment. In the civil action cited above, the United States sought to reduce the various tax deficiencies and tax liens against Mr. Letscher to judgments against him and trusts he controlled, and the above description of was part of the court’s opinion leading to the conclusion that ” Mr. Letscher’s pattern of misconduct provides clear and convincing evidence that he intended to evade payment of federal income taxes and justifies the imposition of civil fraud penalties.”
San Francisco tax attorney Robert Sommers has this to say about Mr. Schiff on his site, The Tax Prophet:
In U.S. v Schiff, 85-1 USTC ¶9108 , 751 F2d 116, the second circuit court of appeals affirmed Mr. Schiff’s criminal tax evasion jury conviction. Schiff, the court noted, is the author of “How Anyone Can Stop Paying Income Taxes.”
On appeal, Schiff, the self-proclaimed leading “untax expert,” ditched his argument that the tax system is unconstitutional and contended that he believed, in good faith, he was not required to file tax returns. Implicit in this argument is the recognition that he had an obligation to file tax returns and pay taxes – a 180 degree reversal of what he preaches to the public!
The court, however, did not buy Schiff’s post-conviction conversion. It easily distinguished between a good faith misunderstanding of the law and Schiff’s vehement and well-documented disagreement with the law. Those who disagree with the law must still obey it. The court stated the good faith defense as follows:
It is well established that the good faith defense encompasses misunderstanding of the law, not disagreement with the law. United States v. Kraeger, 711 F.2d 6, 7 (2d Cir. 1983). The distinction is necessary to the functioning of the tax system. Without it, any taxpayer could evade tax obligations simply by stubbornly refusing to admit error despite the receipt of any number of authoritative statements of the law. At some point, such stubbornness becomes unreasonable; the line is crossed between misunderstanding and disagreement and the taxpayer can no longer successfully assert a defense of good faith.
Undeterred by his stint in the slammer, Schiff went back to court. U.S. v Schiff, 89-2 USTC Para 9465, 876 F2d 272 (Sec. Circuit, 1989). This time, he argued that his criminal probation requirement that he file tax returns violated his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Once again, he lost. The court noted that his argument was a rehash of his basic thesis: he does not have to pay taxes. The court made it clear that Schiff was required to file returns and pay taxes on the income he earned under IRC Sec. 6001, 6151 and 6012. The court dismissed Schiff’s notion that the U.S. tax system is voluntary and no income tax is “legally required.”
To the extent that income taxes are said to be “voluntary,” however, they are only voluntary in that one files the returns and pays the taxes without the IRS first telling each individual the amount due and then forcing payment of that amount. The payment of income taxes is not optional, [citations omitted] however, and the average citizen knows that the payment of income taxes is legally required.
Shrugging off these defeats, Schiff ventured into court once again. Schiff vs. U.S. 73 AFTR 2d Par 94-517 (U.S. Dist. Ct. 1989). This time in a civil case in which he was hit with civil fraud penalties, he claimed that the IRS could not assess taxes against him. The tax system is unconstitutional; and he sincerely believed that he was not required to pay tax. Predictably, he lost again on all counts. The court made the following findings and conclusions:
1. Schiff failed to file an accurate tax return, so his voluntary assessment was zero. Once the IRS filed a zero assessment tax return for the taxpayer, the IRS could then assess a deficiency (an additional amount of tax) against Mr. Schiff.
2. Schiff was given the right to contest the deficiency in Tax Court, which he failed to do.
3. The U.S. tax laws are constitutional. With respect to this argument, the court made the following succinct observation:
The authority given to Congress to lay and collect taxes, see U.S. Const. Art. Section 8, Cl 1, as modified by the 16th Amendment, allows the imposition of an income tax without limitation. The 16th Amendment removed the limitation on Congress’s authority to impose a direct tax only if proportioned among the States, stating the “Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Courts have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of the 16th Amendment. See, e.g. Brushaber v Union Pacific Railroad, 240 U.S. 1, 17-19 (1916) [The Court upheld the validity of the 16th Amendment, finding that it eliminated the requirement that direct taxes, such as the income tax, on all income from whatever source derived, need no longer be apportioned.
4. Regarding the civil fraud penalty, the court found that Schiff paid no taxes and failed to properly file tax returns. In refuting his claim that he sincerely believed he did not have to pay taxes, the court found that Schiff was an intelligent person with a broad knowledge of tax law, inasmuch as he has written books on the subject and has appeared on television discussing the issue. The court made the following crucial distinction:
The court finds plaintiff’s attempts to exculpate himself from the fraud penalty based on the sincerity of his belief that he need not pay income taxes to be without merit. While a failure to pay because of a “misunderstanding of law” may not sustain the imposition of the fraud penalty, “disagreement with the law” provides no defense United States v. Schiff, 801 F.2d 108, 112 (2d Cir. 1986). As the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit noted, “[t]he distinction [between a misunderstanding and a disagreement] is necessary to the functioning of our tax system. Without it, any taxpayer could evade tax obligations simply by stubbornly refusing to admit error despite the receipt of any number of authoritative statements of the law.” Id.
In a prior action involving plaintiff’s liability for tax evasion and fraudulent underpayment of taxes, the Tax Court, after reviewing the evidence and considering plaintiff’s arguments, concluded:
Petitioner is free to argue his theories to Congress, but he cannot disregard the laws passed by Congress and upheld by the courts, fail to perform an affirmative duty imposed on him by those laws, and then expect to avoid the consequences of his avowedly freely exercised disobedience.
Schiff, T.C. Memo. 1984-223.
In Schiff v CM, T.C. Memo. 1992-183, Mr. Schiff (called “petitioner” in the court decision) once again challenged the U.S. tax system, and the court rejected his frivolous arguments:
According to petitioner, no deficiency can exist, and, therefore, no valid notice of deficiency can be issued without and until a valid assessment has been made. Petitioner’s basic premise is that no valid assessment can be made without a voluntarily filed tax return, which petitioner strenuously asserts is something that he has not done. Petitioner also argues that respondent cannot determine a tax on his income for which Congress has not made him liable; that he had no income within the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code; that respondent seeks to impose a tax not authorized by the taxing clauses of the United States Constitution; that this Court has no jurisdiction over petitioner; and that the Tax Court is not a court anyway.
These are stale and long discredited tax protester arguments that have been proffered to and rejected by this and other courts countless times. See, e.g., Laing v. United States, 423 U.S. 161, 174 (1976); United States v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259, 263-264 (1927); Brushaber v. Union Pac. R.R., 240 U.S. 1, 19-20 (1916); Planned Investments, Inc. v. United States, 881 F.2d 340, 343-344 (6th Cir. 1989); Roat v. Commissioner, 847 F.2d 1379, 1381 (9th Cir. 1988); Ficalora v. Commissioner, 751 F.2d 85, 87 (2d Cir. 1984), affg. an unreported order of this Court; Woods v. Commissioner, 91 T.C. 88, 90 (1988); Abrams v. Commissioner, 82 T.C. 403 (1984); Rowlee v. Commissioner, 80 T.C. 1111 (1983); McCoy v. Commissioner, 76 T.C. 1027, 1029-1030 (1981), affd. 696 F.2d 1234 (9th Cir. 1983). Moreover, petitioner has previously raised these same arguments in this Court, had them addressed and dismissed as groundless. Schiff v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1984-223. We will not countenance those who would continue to waste judicial resources by engaging in a detailed scholarly refutation of petitioner’s specious claims. McCoy v. Commissioner, supra at 1029. Suffice it to say that they are totally unfounded and without merit. We hold that petitioner had unreported gross income in the amount of $141,952 and taxable income in the amount of $96,042 in 1979.
Mr. Schiff’s repeated and unsuccessful attempts to challenge the viability of the U.S. tax system demonstrate the futility of the tax protestor movement. The position of the courts regarding the tax protester movement can be summarized as follows:
1. The tax law is constitutional and Congress has the right to impose income taxes without limitation. Brushaber v Union Pacific Railroad, 240 U.S. 1, 17-19 (1916).
2. The payment of income taxes is not optional, and the average citizen knows that the payment of income taxes is legally required.
3. While a failure to pay because of a “misunderstanding of law” may not sustain the imposition of the fraud penalty, “disagreement with the law” provides no defense.
4. While taxpayers are free to argue their theories to Congress, they cannot disregard the laws passed by Congress and upheld by the courts, fail to perform an affirmative duty imposed on them by those laws, and then expect to avoid the consequences of their avowedly freely exercised disobedience. In other words, disobey the law at your own peril.
5. The courts will not give credence or respect to those who would continue to waste judicial resources by engaging in a detailed scholarly refutation of a tax protester’s specious claims. The courts have repeatedly stated that these arguments are totally unfounded and without merit.
As I stated earlier, you can always find a Tax Scam Artist to tell you just how rotten and insane the other Tax Scam Artists are. To wit, all you need to do is to read some of the info on Otto Skinner’s site. Just another scammer telling you how dumb the other scammers are. Incredible. Below, you can see just what Irwin Schiff thinks of Otto Skinner.
As it is clear from Mr. Schiff’s site that he hasn’t changed his tune, maybe he’ll be a guest of the Federal government yet again.
2) Larken Rose (TaxableIncome.net)
Larken Rose moved to the top of this list on August 12, 2005 as he was convicted by a Federal jury in Philadelphia of five counts of willful failure to file federal income tax returns. Rose dropped to the #2 spot so Irwin Schiff could rightfully regain the top spot when he was convicted on October 24, 2005.
Rose, 37, was the joint owner of a medical transcription business operated outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As set forth in the Indictment and according to the evidence introduced at trial, Rose willfully failed to file personal federal income tax returns for calendar years 1998 through 2002, despite earning $500,000 during those years. Rose also filed false and frivolous amended income tax returns for 1994, 1995, and 1996. On those amended returns, he reported no tax due and requested a refund for all income taxes paid in those years. At trial, Rose claimed that he failed to file returns and sought refund claims based on his determination that his income received inside the United States was not taxable under Internal Revenue Code Section 861 and regulations. The judge instructed the jury that this Section 861 argument is incorrect as a matter of law.
After crying for years that the lack of governmental action proves he must be correct in all of his musings and after begging that the Federal government prosecute him, he now whines because his Pennsylvania home was finally raided by the Feds on May 6, 2003.
Shouldn’t Mr. Rose be thrilled that he might get his day in court so that he can prove to his minions that his opinions are correct? Nope. He’s just another spineless beast who can’t take what he has been asking for.
As Quatloos profoundly states “Not being smart enough to come up with any unique theory of his own, Larken has simply latched on to the “861” or “Income Can’t Be Defined” arguments that end up with the conclusion that only foreigners are required to pay income tax. Larkin’s argument has been exploded more times than a pack of Blackcats at a 4th of July festival (see below) but this hasn’t stopped Larken from marketing his video for $20“.
A self delusional nut case claims ” that the actual federal income tax statutes and regulations do not show the income of most Americans to be taxable”. Believes that everyone else in the world is wrong about taxes, except of course for himself and the few nut cases that believe as he does. He has been a prolific poster on the misc.taxes newsgroup. That has not been a particularly wise course of action as he has consistently proven himself to be a complete and total boob.
Even Irwin Schiff finds his arguments to be bogus saying “Larken Rose couldn’t be more wrong”. How would you like to have a slug like Schiff think you’re a bozo?!
3) Lynne Meredith (FreedomMall.com)
Lynne moves to #3. On Tax Day 2002, she went down, big time. After boasting for years that she didn’t file or pay income taxes and that she hadn’t even received a call or a letter from the IRS, the anti-tax activist found out that occasionally the Federal government does act.
Meredith is owner of “We The People” and “Sovereignty Pure Trusts”, in Sunset Beach, California. Meredith and four colleagues were convicted on charges that they bilked victims out of more than $6 million in a worldwide tax fraud scam. A 35-count grand jury indictment said Meredith and the others sold bogus “pure trusts”, which Meredith said would prevent holders from ever having to pay income taxes.
The leader of the operation, Lynne Meredith, 55, of Sunset Beach, was sentenced on June 6, 2005 to 121 months in prison. A federal jury last year convicted Meredith of conspiracy, four counts of mail fraud, two counts of using a false social security number, making a false statement in a passport application and five counts of failing to file a tax return.
Meredith and her co-defendants were sentenced Monday afternoon in Los Angeles by United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson. In sentencing Meredith, Judge Pregerson said her ideas on United States tax laws were “delusional.” He went on to say that the defendants were motivated by greed, and that the stiff sentences in the case were warranted by the serious harm the defendants caused to their customers and to government institutions. Judge Pregerson also noted the importance of deterring other tax protest organizations that mislead taxpayers into violating tax laws.
4) Al Thompson
Dropping to #4 is Big Al Thompson. On April 13, 2005, in Sacramento, CA, Walter A (Al) Thompson was sentenced to serve 72 months in prison and fined $7,500. Following his conviction in January for two counts of filing false claims for refunds, filing a false amended individual income tax return, ten counts of willfully failing to deduct, withhold, collect and pay over income and social security taxes from his employees. Thompson owned and operated Cencal, an aviation and flight bag manufacturing business. Cencal employed a number of hourly wage workers who were predominantly seamstresses, production workers and office workers. In July 2000, Thompson removed all of the employees from the taxpayer roles by no longer withholding employment taxes from wages and salaries, by not filing Forms 941, and by not providing employees or the IRS with annual wage or other income statements, Forms W-2 or 1099, as required by law.
Al was the owner of Cencal Aviation Products of Shasta Lake, CA. Mr. Thompson believes that he is not required to withhold taxes from his employees wages and allowed the New York Times access to a meeting with his company’s employees to discuss his ideas. The New York Times wrote about Mr. Thompson on November 19, 2000.
The Motley Crew (Ranging from the insignificant to the delusional to everything inbetween)
Rick Bryan Haraka (Taxgate.com)
On November 7, 2002, the Department of Justice filed suit in federal court to stop Richard Haraka, alias Rick Bryan, of Clifton, N.J., from promoting a tax refund scam known as the “Section 861 argument” for the tax code provision it misinterprets. Promoters of the Section 861 argument falsely claim that income from sources in the United States is not subject to federal income tax.
Today’s suit, filed in Newark, N.J., is part of a continuing nationwide crackdown against promoters of the Section 861 scam. The government’s complaint alleges that Haraka helped co-found an organization known as “Taxgate,” where he sells materials over the Internet designed to teach customers how to evade federal taxes and unlawfully interfere in the administration of the federal tax laws. According to the complaint, Haraka began promoting the scheme in the mid-1990s with Thurston Bell, who is the subject of a similar suit pending in federal court in Harrisburg, Pa.
The complaint also asks the court to order Haraka to provide the Department of Justice with the name of every person to whom he gave, sold or otherwise provided materials relating to the so-called Section 861 argument.
Barrie & Susie Konicov (ThePotentialsUnlimited.com/loophole.htm)
Author of “The Great Snow Job” Convicted of Tax Evasion
On October 15, 2001, Barrie Leslie Konicov was sentenced to 87 months in prison followed by three years supervised release. In addition, the judge ordered Konicov to file correct tax returns and pay all tax deficiencies, along with paying the cost of prosecution, which totaled $11,311.81. In his press release, United States Attorney Phillip J. Green stated, “At this time, when citizens are uniting, all taxpayers need to pay their fair share. It is these collected taxes that fund the Federal agencies that are currently called upon to serve the safety and security needs of each and everyone. This verdict and sentence should send a strong message to those people who are engaged in similar activities and I urge them to comply with the Federal tax laws.”
On June 22, 2001, Konicov, of Amado, Arizona, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the IRS. He was also convicted on three counts of willfully failing to file Federal income tax returns for the years 1994, 1995, and 1996. Konicov is the founder of De-Taxing America and author of a book entitled, “The Great Snow Job.”
According to evidence presented in court, Konicov accumulated and deposited more than $3.9 million into a number of bank accounts and sham trusts. The money deposited was obtained through the De-Taxing America program and sham trust packages that were sold throughout the U.S. to over 1,000 people.
On October 17, 2001, Susanne Konicov was sentenced to six months home confinement, 200 hours community service, and two years probation. In addition, the judge order her to pay the costs of her court-appointed attorney and a fine of $2,000. On May 3, 2001, Susanne pled guilty to three counts of failure to file tax returns for 1994, 1995, and 1996.
Robbie Struckman & Sharon Kukhahn (IRSCodeBusters.com)
According to the site, “IRSCodebusters is a team of researchers including a federal lawyer (not an attorney) and a certified paralegal. This team specializes in utilizing the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act to provide a detailed decoding and examination of the Individual Master File and other secretly coded files the IRS keeps on you.”
They go on to say, “The Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the alleged Internal Revenue Service were not created by Congress. These are not organizations or agencies of the Department of the Treasury or of the federal government They appear to be operated through pure trusts administered by the Secretary of the Treasury ( the Trustee ). The Settler of the trusts and the Beneficiary or Beneficiaries are Unknown. According to the law governing Trusts, the Information does not have to be revealed.
Yawn. What a bunch of hooey. While they masquerade as your garden variety tax protesters, what they really do is attempt to get you to send them your money. What a shock! For a fee of $2,495 for a couple filing a married joint return, they will “decode” your IRS Individual Master File. Save the money and keep away from these cretins.
Apparently, I struck a nerve or simply hit too close to home. On April 29, 2002, I received not one, not two, not three, but four copies of a letter claiming damage to the sterling reputations of Struckman and Kukhahn. They also claim that we are trying to steal their clients. I would love to have them sue us as we will have the opportunity to expose their scams in a court of law. The letters came from someone named Kenneth Wayne who appears to be posing as an attorney, but I don’t believe he has a license to practice law. Nice how these people seem to hang together.
More garbage received from these wackos. On June 10, 2002, I once again received four letters similar to those received six weeks ago. It appears that they make up their own courts and then sue you in these phantom courts. These guys should all be tossed in jail and the key permanently thrown away.
Additional note- September 6, 2005- I received email today which stated that IMFDecoder.com is now in existence and has the same garbage as the aforementioned IRSCodebusters.com. While I can’t be certain as to the site’s ownership, it does appear that IMFDecoder.com has the exact same information as IRSCodebusters.com. It should be noted that IMFDecoder.com has been around for a couple of years. There is no doubt whatsoever that IMFDecoder.com is a scam and you are strongly advised to stay away from their scam artists. The site states that you must be a client of PQI, which is part of the notorious Global Prosperity. Anyone becoming a client of these people deserves exactly what they get. You have been forewarned.
Thurston Bell (Tax-gate.com, NITE.org)
Thurston Bell heads up an organization known as The National Institute for Taxation Education. Mr. Bell is not an EA, CPA or attorney. It is unknown whether or not he has any formal education or training. He states, (his words, certainly not ours) “Our goal is to Educate the Tax Payers of the United States on the Whole of the Law including those provisions of the Tax Laws that exempt from Gross Income remuneration paid to most Citizens of the United States.”
On November 15, 2001, the United States Justice Department filed suit against Mr. Bell and two others for promotion of what the government contends are tax evasion schemes. According to the New York Times, “The three promoters who were sued yesterday all market versions of what is known as “the 861 position,” which contends that the section of the tax code with that number restricts the income tax laws to a small number of Americans, primarily those employed by foreign-owned businesses.
Every court that has heard this argument has dismissed it, but its adherents remain undeterred, contending as Mr. Bell did yesterday that the issue was not presented properly, that the cases had procedural flaws or that the judges were incompetent or corrupt.”
Simply put, Bell’s views are a load of garbage. There are numerous ways to debunk his delusions. The following are found on The Tax Protester FAQ by Pennsylvania Attorney Dan Evans.
Mr. Bell was once connected with another scam, Taxgate.com, but according to that site, “It so happens that on (sic) foolish individual who in an attempt to steal the web domain of Taxgate.com to use for his own purposes, Thurston Bell registered the domain Tax-Gate (as opposed to Taxgate). The IRS is after Mr. Bell (because of Mr. Bell’s repeated ‘bonehead’ stunts and his getting people into trouble). When the IRS contacts Mr. Bell, they carbon copy their letters to his web site at NITE, to Thurston personally, and to finally, to his other web site named Tax-gate (T. Bell’s domain that has nothing to do with Taxgate or Taxgate.com)”.
The site, PleaseBeware.com states,“Thurston’s egomania is so out-of-control that strangers even plead with him via email to “grow up”!! Thurston Bell ‘s mental disorder dictates upon his awareness that YOU HAD BETTER PAY HIM COMPLETE ALLEGIANCE – ONLY TO HIM or you will be ‘cast out’ from his following…..”
According to the previously convicted Irwin Schiff’s site, ISchiff.com, “What I discovered is that Mr. Bell has a fundamental misunderstanding concerning the nature and character of the federal income tax, which is obviously causing him to put out a good deal of misinformation on his web site.
As of September, 2001, Thurston Bell is under investigation by the IRS for promoting abusive tax shelters.
Update: November 7, 2002: According to a press release by the USDOJ, a hearing on the Department’s request for an injunction against Thurston Bell of Hanover, Pa., took place on Nov. 4th in a U.S. district court in Harrisburg.
Edward Kotmair (Save-A-Patriot.org)
RALEIGH – United States Attorney Janice McKenzie Cole announced that EDWARD L. KOTMAIR, 41, of Westminster, Maryland, was sentenced in federal court here on Thursday, February 3, 2000, for failure to file federal income tax returns. Chief U. S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle imposed a sentence of 27 months imprisonment and a supervised release term of one year.
Following a three-day jury trial in September, 1999, Kotmair was convicted of failing to file federal income tax returns for the years 1990, 1991, and 1992. During those years, he operated his own carpentry business, Commercial Installers, located in Cary, N. C. His company earned income of approximately 1.7 million dollars during the three-year period. Some of Kotmair’s income came from the United States Government while he did subcontracting work on the Library of Congress and a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation building in Washington, D. C. Kotmair was arrested in September, 1998, and has remained in federal custody since that time.
During his trial, Kotmair attempted to convince the jury that he did not believe he was required to pay income taxes. The jury rejected his argument and found him guilty on all three counts of the indictment. Kotmair is a member of Save-A-Patriot Fellowship, a tax protest organization located in Westminster, Maryland. The group, which was founded by Kotmair’s father, John B. Kotmair, states that U. S. citizens living and working in the United States are not required to pay income taxes.
John B. Kotmair (Save-A-Patriot.org)
The father of Edward Kotmair; it’s clear that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. The elder Kotmair was convicted of failure to file federal income tax returns in the early 1980’s and served a prison term. Other members of Save-A-Patriot Fellowship, including close associates of Kotmair, also have been convicted of income tax charges and sentenced to prison.
According to U. S. Attorney Cole, federal courts and juries have consistently rejected the arguments of “tax protest” organizations, including the Save-A-Patriot Fellowship, and have upheld the income tax laws and their applicability to everyone.
American Contracting Services (AmericanContracting.com)
According to their site, “American Contracting Services (ACS) provides services to workers throughout America with special expertise in the area of non-covered employee contracting. ACS understands the constitutionally limited application of the tax statutes and regulations to the citizen working within the 50 states of the union and is in an excellent position to support the worker’s right to choose non-covered employee contracting.
Many firms offer conventional employee leasing services (explained below). Almost none, however, offer employment contracting. The unique advantage which ACS enjoys over typical employee leasing and “temping” agencies is, quite simply, that we understand the law.”
What they are really saying is, “we help you to break the law”. Let’s start a pool to determine when they guys will begin doing jail time. I’m guessing April, 2004.
William Conklin (Anti-IRS.com)
William Conklin claims to have won multiple cases against the IRS. However, Mr. Conklin is truth impaired. In fact, as noted below, he has lost every case on record. He argues that “the income tax is voluntary” and that “the Fifth Amendment…is the best issue that has ever been raised in the Freedom Movement”.
Pennsylvania Attorney Dan Evans on his brilliant site The Tax Protester FAQ debunks Conklin rather easily:
|The income tax is voluntary.|
|You cannot be required to file an income tax return because a tax return is a form of testimony and the 5th Amendment guarantees that you cannot be compelled to testify against yourself.|
Mr. Evans goes on to state the following about Mr. Conklin:
William T. Conklin claims to be successful in fighting the IRS, and has described himself as a “known tax protester like Jesus Christ, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.” Conklin v. United States, KTC 1994-259, Case No. 89-N-1514 (D. Col. 1994). Unfortunately, his claims of success are contradicted by the public record, because he has lost every case on record. See, e.g., Conklin v. Commissioner, 91 T.C. 41 (1988); Church of World Peace, Inc. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1992-318; Church of World Peace, Inc. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 1994-87; Church of World Peace, Inc. v IRS, 715 F.2d 492; United States v. Church of World Peace, 775 F.2d 265; Conklin v. United States, 812 F.2d 1318; Conklin v. C.I.R. , 897 F.2d 1032; Tavery v. United States, 897 F.2d 1027; Tavery v. United States, Civ. No. 87-Z-180, USDC Colorado.
A posting on the Netscams message board states the following about Mr. Conklin:
Posted by Brian on July 27, 19101 at 15:07:08:
Bill Conklin from Denver, Co. takes a $900 fee up front to supposedly help people with irs problems, he doesn’t know his butt from a hole in the floor, he is a royal rip- off artist taking advantage of innocent folks who believe waht (sic) they see on his web site or hear from. Please don’t let this con artist make you his next victim!
Take Brian’s advice. Bill Conklin is a fraud and the further you distance yourself from this charlatan the better.
Larry Becraft (fly.hiwaay.net/~becraft/)
Larry Becraft is a practicing Alabama attorney. According to Becraft’s site, virtually everything is a government conspiracy and the government is the cause of all our ills. His claim to fame is successfully defending Lloyd Long against federal criminal tax charges in a case heard in Tennessee. However, Mr. Becraft conveniently fails to tell you the entire story. Once again, we turn to
The Lloyd Long case is one of the great “victories” of tax protesters, meaning that it is absolutely meaningless. Mr. Long was prosecuted for criminal failure to file and was acquitted by a jury, which apparently had a reasonable doubt about whether he had “willfully” failed to file. His acquittal does not “prove” that you are not required to file income tax returns, any more than the acquittal of O.J. Simpson “proves” that it is legal to kill your ex-wife.
Mr. Becraft has been sanctioned by the courts for making frivolous arguments “Much of Becraft’s reply is also devoted to a discussion of the limitations of federal jurisdiction to United States territories and the District of Columbia and thus the inapplicability of the federal income tax laws to a resident of one of the states…this claim also has no semblance of merit.” In re Lowell H. Becraft (United States v. Nelson), 885 F.2d 547 (9th Cir. 1989), (Mr. Becraft, attorney for Mr. Nelson, was fined $2,500 for filing a petition that the court found to be so lacking in merit as to be “frivolous”).
The Tax Protester FAQ is full of information on Becraft’s failed arguments and also tells us just how Becraft is able to find clients that are willing to take on the IRS:
|The taxpayers who have challenged the tax system and lost all lost because they argued their cases badly.|
Quatloos.com Cyber-Museum of Scams and Frauds Tax Protestor Cases Gallery shows the utter absurdity of Becraft’s arguments and reminds us that Becraft was sanctioned $2,500 by the Ninth Circuit for his frivolous arguments.
Institute for Global Prosperity (16thAmendment.com; TaxStatement.com; IGP.cc; SuccessLinks.com)
The very worst of them all. The Institute for Global Prosperity is the lowest of the lows. They were recently raided by the IRS and their leaders are being sought on criminal charges. Here is what Quatloos.com by Adkisson Consulting LLC has to say about them:
As we have previously related, the bottom-of-the-bottom in the MLM world is the “Global Prosperity” scam. This scam, as we have previously related, grew out of the old “Global Prosperity Group”, which was one of the biggest criminal schemes of all times and caused a lot of people to lose their money buying in to GPG’s completely worthless materials and other stuff which was marketed as ways to save taxes and become rich offshore.
The scummiest of the scummy, being the crooks who run the “Global Prosperity” scam, recently hosted a seminar in Cancun, Mexico, to try to enlist suckers to help them sell so-called “Pure Trusts” – a fictional trust which the IRS has deemed “abusive” and has of late been very successful in prosecuting people who have set these up to avoid taxes.
Global Prosperity is notorious, not only for scamming people into buying totally worthless tapes and “scripts” to be read over the telephone, but also has the distinction of being probably the hardest of all MLM programs to sell.
When GPG collapsed, the scam artists who had become rich selling the GPG junk simply started setting up their own GPG variants, promising that they would do things better. None have. GPG remains the bottom-of-the-bottom, being a scheme which promotes offshore tax evasion and encourages people to invest in bogus investments.
But none of this has hurt GPG as much as the fact that it has incurred the reputation as the singularly hardest MLM program to sell. GPG’s reputation is so bad that other MLM scams regularly advertise their programs with the disclaimer “Not GPG”.
GPG – and its various spin-off groups which go by a variety of names, usually including “Global Prosperity” somewhere – is just a big fraud, and has had Cease-and-Desist Orders issued against it by a bunch of states. In addition to being criminal on the state level, for fraud and securities fraud, GPG is also criminal on the federal level or aiding and abetting tax evasion.
But beware, as bad as GPG is, there are still some scam artists out there hawking the “Global Prosperity” system, and promising freedom from taxes and great riches offshore. GPG has a notorious reputation, and cease-and-desist orders against it by many states, so if you know of somebody selling GPG please report them to your state’s Attorney General’s office before others get scammed too.
Eddie Kahn (AmericanRightsLitigator.org)
Without any doubt, the most stupid of all the “professional” tax protesters. Mr. Kahn’s “arguments” are so utterly juvenile and worthless as to barely worth the space I am using to type this sentence.
Otto Skinner (OttoSkinner.com)
I don’t quite know what to make of having a convicted tax cheat say that “maybe he wasn’t lying after all. He obviously simply does not know what he is talking about”, but that’s what the infamous Irwin Schiff says about Mr. Skinner.
Mr. Skinner’s site is primarily devoted to informing the reader just how flawed the arguments of the other tax protesters are. What Mr. Skinner does best is try to sell you his book. Save your money. He’s just another crackpot.
Joe Sweet (JoyFoundation.com)
Drivel, crap, garbage. That’s all you really need to know about these idiots. One important point. They try to sell you crap for thousands of dollars. I’ll bet you money that Sweet files his tax return like clockwork and dutifully declares every penny of his income while he tells you to become a criminal while he gets rich off your ignorance.
Peymon Mottahedeh (FreedomLaw.org)
Talk about paranoid. These guys are about as looney as we’ve been able to find. They will sell you garbage for hundreds or thousands, but don’t send them checks or try to pay them directly with a credit card as they won’t take ’em. Cash only for these boys.
Austin Gary Cooper, Martha Cooper, Dale Raymond, Douglas Grable, Robin Gamandy, Gary Douglas Holmes, Taking Back America (TBAFoundation.com)
Complete nutcases but with a twist. These wackos are entrepreneurs. Conspiracy theories all over the place. These idiots tell you that your tax dollars do not go into the Federal Treasury but rather to “eight primarily foreign, private bankers who share a common goal to establish a monopolistic, global economy under their control.” Here’s the fun part. If you wish to sell their “product”, you make $600 per sale. They also sell pure trusts, which are nothing but pure crap. I have a very strong feeling that these folks will wind up on America’s Most Wanted. They are headquartered in Florida, where it seems, many wackos are based.
William Tufford (VoluntaryTaxes.com)
Yet another of the garden variety tax protesters. Doesn’t have any thoughts of his own and chooses to parrot what he picks up from others.
Neil McIver (Cjmciver.org)
Just another of the garden variety tax protesters. Doesn’t have any thoughts of his own and chooses to parrot what he picks up from the other bozos. A conspiracy theorist who claims to have no driver’s license or Social Security Number.
Gordon Phillips (InformAmerica.com)
Edmund Fitzsimmons (TaxFreeUSA.org)
Devvy Kidd (Devvy.com)
A fairly prolific site, it contains a great deal of information. Unfortunately, it’s the same drivel you find elsewhere.
Joseph Bannister (FreedomAboveFortune.com)
A former IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in San Jose, I won’t waste the space to put up anything on this clown. The less attention he gets, the better.
Dan Meador (Lawresearch-registry.org)
One of the oldest tax protesters around, Meador is also an ex-con. On January 10, 1997 Dan Meador was convicted of obstructing justice and illegally communicating with a member of a federal grand jury. On June 5, 1997, a federal judge sentenced Oklahoma common law activist Dan Meador to 16 months in prison, three years supervised release and a $2,000 fine.
Bob Schulz, We The People (GiveMeLiberty.org, TaxHonesty.org)
Somehow, Mr. Schulz has convinced Maryland Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-6th) to assist him in scheduling a forum on the legality of the federal income tax system. Mr. Schulz went on a hunger strike to protest the tax system. In a letter from the Congressman to Bob Schulz, Bartlett states “We have re-scheduled the forum (symposium) for February 27 and 28 in the Science and Technology Committee Hearing Room in the Rayburn House Office Building beginning at 9:00 a.m. each day. A letter of support and confirmation signed by myself and other members of Congress has been drafted, circulated, and will be sent to officials at the Department of Justice, Treasury and the IRS, informing them of the dates and times and requiring their attendance. I will personally chair the event and have invited other members of Congress to attend and sit on the panel.”
I will do everything I can to be invited to speak before that panel.
Site owner unknown (TreasuryTaxSecrets.com)
One of my personal favorites. Site devoted to telling you how bad the other scam artists are. In particular, writes extensively about John Kotmair of Save a Patriot, Thurston Bell of NITE & Bob Schulz of We The People. Speculation from various scam artists that Treasury Tax Secrets site is run by a government agent known as “Steve Fitzgerald Deluca”.
Thomas Scambos (Tax-Freedom.com)
Nick Jesson (TaxDefenseFund.org, NickJesson.org)
Nick Jesson is the owner of No Time Delay Electronics of Huntington Beach, CA. Mr. Jesson believes that he is not required to withhold taxes from his employees wages and flaunts that supposed knowledge. His business was raided by the California Franchise Tax Board on May 2, 2001. Nick was also a candidate for Governor of California. BTW, I didn’t vote for him.
Jack Cohen (TaxAx.org)
Just another of the crowd that believes employers can’t and must not withhold taxes from their employees. Those advocating this position are now feeling serious heat from the IRS.
Here’s the latest from this reckless individual that was posted on the misc.taxes newsgroup.
From: Jack Cohen
Subject: Stopping IRS levies
Date: 2001-11-19 02:10:56 PST
My name is Jack Cohen. I’ve been wrestling with forced wage withholding, liens, levies, and the like for many years. I’ve read the entire series of tax laws enacted since 1909, and much more. I have evidence found in official government publications that the IRS is not authorized to send notices of levy to any but government instrumentalities and large employers who have written agreements with the IRS to accept service of such levies. Within the next few weeks, I will be making a very convincing group of documents that will enable anyone who receives a notice of levy from an IRS employee to file charges against the idiot who signed it. Look for it soon on my web site at Taxax.org. You may also find some of my free articles interesting, such as my “Layman’s Guide to Withholding”.
Bill Benson (TheLawThatNeverWas.com)
Jim Paulson (YourTaxFreedom.com)
Complete trash. Mr. Paulson believes that the government is lurking behind every door and that everything is a conspiracy. Sells illegal trusts and the garden variety of crap that will most definitely get you in some deep, deep trouble. Paranoia will destroy ya!
We also suggest that you visit these excellent sites for good, accurate, definitive information on the Tax Protest movement and their fallacious arguments.