FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL COURT IN COLORADO BARS NATIONWIDE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced that a federal court issued a preliminary injunction against a Colorado couple to stop the promotion of a tax scam.
Chief Judge Lewis T. Babcock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ordered Austin Gary Cooper, his spouse Martha Cooper, and their organizations - Taking Back America and The Ten Foundation - to stop promoting a tax scam in which customers are falsely advised that they can avoid federal income taxes by renouncing their U.S. citizenship in favor of "American" citizenship. The preliminary injunction requires the defendants to stop promoting the scam, to give the Justice Department a list of customers who have bought materials from the defendants, and to post the order on the defendants' website.
"The Department of Justice is committed to shutting down the promotion of tax scams," said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Tax Division. "People who participate in these scams can face sizeable civil and criminal penalties, including substantial jail sentences."
According to papers the Justice Department filed in the case, the Fort Collins, Colorado defendants have sold their "expatriation" scam for as much as $1,600 to as many as 2,000 individuals nationwide. The court papers allege that Mr. Cooper was criminally convicted in 1990 for failing to file income tax returns, failing to pay income taxes and filing false tax withholding certificates.
Evidence submitted to the court showed that the defendants and Taking Back America gave customers fraudulent instructions on how to prevent their employers from withholding taxes from their wages and furnished customers with form letters to send to the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration requesting a return of back taxes.
This injunction is the latest in a series of orders the Justice Department has won in its effort to shut down tax-scam promotions. A federal court last month sentenced a Virginia man, Robert Foster, to thirteen years in jail for promoting a bogus slavery reparations tax scam. His daughter received a three year sentence for participating in the scheme.
More information about the case against the Coopers can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/prtax/txdv03361.htm.
More information about the Justice Department's Tax Division can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax.