FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
OREGON RANCHER TO SERVE THIRTY-THREE MONTHS
IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR TAX FRAUD
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division Eileen J. OíConnor and U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Michael W. Mosman announced today the sentencing of an Antelope, Oregon man on charges of tax fraud.
Lanis R. Metteer was sentenced by Judge Garr M. King to serve thirty-three months in prison for failing to file personal income tax returns and obstructing the Internal Revenue Service. A federal jury in Portland, Oregon convicted Metteer of the crimes in February 2003.
ďAs the sentence handed down today shows, failing to file federal tax returns and obstructing the Internal Revenue Service are serious crimes with serious consequences,Ē said Eileen J. OíConnor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Departmentís Tax Division.
According to court records, Metteer attempted to obstruct the Internal Revenue Serviceís efforts to collect any tax on his income from various family properties for more than ten years. The properties included a ranch in Antelope, Oregon and rental properties in Madras, Oregon.
According to evidence introduced at trial, soon after the Internal Revenue Service contacted him in 1992 about his and his grandmotherís tax delinquencies, Metteer began scheming to keep the agency from learning about his various income-producing assets. The indictment specifically alleges that he used many methods to obstruct the Internal Revenue Serviceís collection efforts, including an elaborate family-trust scheme program, nominee bank and brokerage accounts, false mortgage documents, a fake church and a shell company in the Bahamas. At trial, Metteer claimed that he thought the federal income tax laws were voluntary. The jury rejected the defenseís claims.
In addition to the thirty-three month prison sentence, Metteer was ordered to pay the cost of prosecution in the amount of $13,884, as well as serve a one-year period of supervised release following his imprisonment. A condition of release is that he complies with all federal income tax laws. At sentencing, the defendant admitted his culpability and stated that he would start to pay federal income taxes.
Special agents with the IRS Criminal Investigation Division investigated this matter. Trial attorneys Brian Bailey and Mark Odulio, of the Justice Departmentís Tax Division, prosecuted this case. Individuals who have information about suspected tax fraud should report it to the Internal Revenue Service tip line at 1-800-829-0433.