FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
GEORGIA FEDERAL COURT ACTS TO STOP "SLAVERY REPARATIONS" TAX
Morris James, Sr. Promoted Fraudulent "Slavery Reparations Tax Credit"
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal court in Macon, Georgia today barred Morris James, Sr. and his company, the National Resource Information Center, Inc., from promoting a nationwide slavery-reparations scam. Judge Duross Fitzpatrick of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia signed a preliminary injunction order barring James from selling packages that promote false claims for tax credits or refunds and from preparing tax returns or other documents claiming credits for reparations. The court also ordered James to turn over his customer list to the Justice Department.
"Claiming tax refunds or credits for slavery reparations is illegal," said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division of the Department of Justice. "The Justice Department is taking vigorous action to stop the promotion of schemes that undermine the federal tax system and leave honest taxpayers footing the bill."
Papers filed by the Justice Department in the case allege that James has promoted the slavery-reparations tax credit by selling "tax information packages" at meetings held in churches throughout the United States. According to the Department's filings, James and his organization sold the packages to more than 6,300 customers.
The IRS has included slavery-reparations scams on its "Dirty Dozen" tax-scam list, which can be found at: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=107493,00.html. Efforts by the IRS and Justice Department to shut down tax scams based on slavery reparations and similar claims have resulted in a 97 % drop in these claims in recent years, according to testimony this April before the Senate Finance Committee by Dale Hart, who is now Commissioner of the IRS's Small Business-Self Employed Operating Division.
The Justice Department has previously obtained injunctions to stop five other reparations-scam promoters or return preparers: Willie Haugabook, also of Montezuma, GA; Eddie and Erma Mims of Sylvania, GA; Robert Foster of Richmond, VA; and Andrew L. Wiley, of Durant, MS. For more information on these cases go to: http://www.usdoj.gov/tax.
The Department has also criminally prosecuted reparations promoters, resulting, for example, in the April 2003 guilty plea entered by James Dean Buckley, in which he admitted committing tax fraud by charging a Mississippi couple to file a federal income-tax return on their behalf and claiming he could get them an $86,000 refund because they are African American; and the October 2001 conviction of Vernon T. James of Carrollton, Texas for preparing false, fictitious, and fraudulent federal-income-tax returns claiming the reparations credit. Last year, a federal judge sentenced Vernon James to six and one-half years in prison and ordered him to pay $1.2 million in restitution.