FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
FEDERAL COURT IN FLORIDA SHUTS DOWN
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Sept. 30, 2002, a federal court in Florida ordered Louis W. Ratfield of West Palm Beach, Fla., and his company, LWR Financial Services Trust, to stop selling trusts which promise to reduce or substantially eliminate federal income taxes. The court also ordered Ratfield and his company to stop preparing federal income tax returns and to refrain from engaging in other tax-evasion activities.
"The Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice are working together to stop the spread of schemes that cheat the IRS and shift the tax burden to honest taxpayers," said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Tax Division. "We will continue to shut down tax evasion schemes and prosecute promoters when appropriate."
According to papers the Justice Department filed in the case, Ratfield and LWR Financial Services Trust helped customers violate federal tax laws by purporting to transfer their income and assets to bogus trusts to reduce or eliminate federal income and social security taxes. The papers state that after charging customers up to $5,995 for a trust package, Ratfield would prepare tax returns for the trusts and claim deductions for his customers' personal living expenses such as food, clothing and mortgage payments.
This action is the fourth such order the Department of Justice has obtained this year against promoters of sham trust packages designed to evade taxes.