Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Fort Myers Real Estate Agents Sentenced to Prison for Tax Crimes

WASHINGTON – Sheri Redekker Barry and Warren Thomas Barry, a wife and husband who are both real estate agents in Fort Myers, Fla., have been sentenced to prison for conspiracy and failure to file tax returns, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. U.S. District Court Judge John E. Steele on Monday sentenced Sheri Barry to 36 months in prison and Warren Barry to 24 months in prison. The court also ordered the Barrys to pay restitution in the amount of $555,728.

In March 2009, a federal jury convicted the Barrys of conspiring to impede and impair the IRS. The jury also convicted Sheri Barry of four counts of failure to file for the tax years 2002 through 2005 and convicted her husband of three counts of failure to file for the tax years 2003 through 2005.

According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Sheri Barry had not filed a tax return since 1988, and Warren Barry had not filed a tax return since 2000. The Barrys sent multiple letters to the IRS advancing false and frivolous tax defier claims purporting to set forth reasons why the defendants were not required to file returns or pay taxes. The IRS repeatedly warned Sheri and Warren Barry that their positions were frivolous and advised the Barrys of their legal duty to file returns. The IRS also issued notices of federal tax liens to Sheri and Warren Barry.

According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Sheri and Warren Barry ignored the IRS’s warnings and conspired to hide their income and assets from the IRS. For example, Sheri and Warren Barry engaged in a pattern of buying and selling real estate in the Fort Myers area through Sheri Barry’s children and other nominees. Sheri and Warren Barry deposited their substantial real estate earnings in bank accounts in the name of nominees, including Sheri Barry’s children. Additionally, Sheri and Warren Barry attempted to pay their outstanding tax liabilities with fictitious instruments, called Bills of Exchange. Sheri and Warren Barry also purchased the fictitious instruments from American Rights Litigators (ARL).

Acting Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco of the Justice Department’s Tax Division commended the IRS special agents who investigated the case, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy and Tax Division trial attorney Michael Boteler who prosecuted the case.

In August 2004, a federal district judge permanently enjoined ARL and two of its promoters from the sale of a nationwide tax scam. In April 2008, a federal court in Florida sentenced two promoters of ARL, as well as ARL client Wesley Snipes, to prison for tax offenses. In September 2008, five promoters of ARL were indicted for tax fraud.

More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division, including its tax enforcement efforts against ARL and its customers, may be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax.

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