WASHINGTON – Paul Richard Arceneaux was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Jackson, Miss., the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. Arceneaux, who owned and operated Speedy Cash Inc., was charged with one count of corruptly interfering with the Internal Revenue laws and two counts of failure to file personal tax returns, 2003 and 2004.
According to the indictment, Arceneaux, formerly of Long Beach, Miss., filed fictitious liens for millions of dollars against the Chancery Clerk for Harrison County, an employee of the Chancery Clerk’s office and an employee of the IRS. The indictment states that Arceneaux also filed frivolous lawsuits against the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and an IRS employee. The indictment also states that Arceneaux filed false tax returns or amended tax returns for tax years 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, claiming he earned zero income.
Two of Arceneaux's previous lawsuits involving challenges to federal tax liabilities were dismissed by U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. on July 12, 2004. In those lawsuits, Arceneaux had asserted that he was a citizen of the state of Mississippi, not the United States, and therefore the Internal Revenue Code did not apply to him. The court wrote that Arceneaux's arguments that he is not subject to this nation's federal tax laws "have been considered and uniformly rejected by the courts."
If convicted, Arceneaux faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $450,000.
"Taxpayers thinking about engaging in tax defier conduct, such as filing of zero-income tax returns or fictitious liens against government employees, to avoid their federal tax obligations should think twice," said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "The government continues to investigate and prosecute tax defier conduct throughout the nation under the National Tax Defier Initiative."
"The tax laws apply to all citizens in all states," said IRS Criminal Investigation Division Chief Eileen Mayer. "Honest taxpayers, who file and pay their fair share of taxes, deserve to know that the tax laws are applied in a fair and just manner for all citizens. Today's indictment signals the government’s determination to do so."
Hochman commended the IRS special agent who investigated the case as well as Tax Division trial attorney Jed M. Silversmith, who is prosecuting the case. Hochman also thanked the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Mississippi for its assistance.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial, in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Additional information about the Justice Department's Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax.