WASHINGTON – Rodney K. Justin, a medical doctor from Woodleaf, N.C., was convicted yesterday of obstructing the internal revenue laws and of failing to file tax returns for several years, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. After trial in Winston-Salem, N.C., a federal jury convicted Justin of four felony counts of corruptly obstructing the administration of the internal revenue laws by sending fake financial instruments called "Bills of Exchange" to the Secretary of the Treasury in Washington, D.C., in purported payment of over $350,000 in taxes. The jury also convicted Justin of willful failure to file returns for the tax years 2001 through 2004.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Justin had not filed a valid tax return since 1997. However, Justin earned in excess of $200,000 each year from 2001 through 2004. Justin sent letters and bogus returns to the IRS advancing false and frivolous tax defier claims purporting to set forth reasons why he was not required to pay taxes. The IRS repeatedly warned Justin that his positions were frivolous and advised him of his legal duty to file returns and pay taxes.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, from 1998 through early 2004, Justin was a client at Guiding Light of God Ministries, also known as American Rights Litigators (ARL), formerly of Mount Dora, Fla. The evidence showed that Justin purchased the four fictitious "Bills of Exchange" he submitted in purported payment of income taxes from ARL.
Chief Judge James A. Beaty, Jr., scheduled sentencing for Feb. 18, 2010. Justin faces a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1.4 million.
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 Frank Chut of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina and Tax Division trial attorney Jeffrey McLellan 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.