WASHINGTON – The United States has sued the founder of a so-called “asset protection” business, alleging that he helps customers evade collection of federal taxes, the Justice Department announced today. According to the government’s civil injunction complaint, William S. Reed of Las Vegas, operated the now-defunct Asset Protection Group Inc.(APGI), which helped customers place sham liens on their property to deceive creditors, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Reed and APGI also allegedly helped customers hide their income and assets by holding their money in bank accounts under nominee names. The suit was filed in St. Louis with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, which is handling a Federal Trade Commission proceeding involving APGI.
The government’s complaint alleges that Reed and APGI sold their asset-protection services to nearly 2000 people. They allegedly promoted sales by distributing a promotional video called "The Litigation Explosion” featuring Reed and hosted by the actor Robert Wagner.
The complaint provides examples of six sham liens totaling more than $2 million that Reed and APGI allegedly filed for customers who owed nearly $900,000 in federal taxes. According to the complaint, the IRS has discovered at least 75 APGI customers that have used nominee bank accounts to evade collection of federal taxes. Since 2001 the Justice Department has obtained injunctions against more than 245 tax preparers and tax-fraud promoters. Information on those cases is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/taxpress2007.htm. More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov.