WASHINGTON – A federal court in California has permanently barred Gwenn Wycoff and Frank Ozak from forming trusts for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction order, to which Wycoff and Ozak consented without admitting the allegations against them, was signed by Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The government complaint alleged that Wycoff and Ozak, both of Los Angeles, promoted a trust scheme through personal appearances, a website, and a two-volume publication called The Art of Passing the Buck. The defendants allegedly promised their customers that forming so-called “common-law trusts” was a way to “own nothing” but “control everything,” which the defendants allegedly said could help their customers avoid paying taxes. But the court previously determined, in preliminarily enjoining the defendants in March 2011, that such trusts are shams. The complaint alleged that the total tax deficiencies of the four customers mentioned in the preliminary injunction order was more than $1.1 million.
The injunction order also requires Wycoff and Ozak to remove from unsold copies of The Art of Passing the Buck the printed advertisements for their trust-creation business. The order also obligates them to inform all past and future purchasers of that publication that they should not rely on its content in determining a trust’s income tax liability, but should instead seek appropriate professional assistance.
In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained hundreds of injunctions against tax-fraud promoters and tax-return preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website.