FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2010
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ASKS FEDERAL COURT TO BAR NATIONWIDE FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT SCHEME
Tennessee Man Allegedly Helped Customers File More Than 200 Lawsuits
against the United States in District of Columbia Federal Court
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today it has sued George K. Pragovich of Clarksville, Tenn., to stop him from promoting an alleged nationwide scheme involving hundreds of frivolous lawsuits filed against the United States. According to the civil injunction lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Nashville, Tenn., Pragovich sells services and materials that help customers, many of whom have substantial federal income tax liabilities, to file frivolous lawsuits against the United States in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Customers from at least 35 different states have allegedly used Pragovich's scheme to file over 200 of the frivolous lawsuits.
The government complaint alleges that Pragovich falsely tells customers that he can fix their tax problems and, in addition, help them get thousands of dollars from the government in damages, by helping them file the lawsuits. Pragovich also allegedly falsely tells customers that if their lawsuit is successful, they will never have to file a federal income tax return or pay federal income taxes again and that all of the lawsuits will eliminate the Internal Revue Service (IRS).
Pragovich, who the complaint says is not a lawyer, allegedly provides customers with ready-to-file lawsuit complaints that falsely claim that the IRS and its employees have unlawfully disclosed customers' federal tax information or unlawfully collected taxes. Pragovich also allegedly provides customers with detailed instructions regarding how to file the complaints and how to respond to government motions in the lawsuits. According to the government's complaint, Pragovich charges an average of about $7,500 per customer for these services, and has received a total of more than $1 million from his clients.
The government complaint alleges that the frivolous suits are largely premised on misguided tax protester arguments. The complaint says that almost every Pragovich-promoted case has been dismissed. One judge, in dismissing one of the cases, described the lawsuit as "frivolous" and "groundless," a "boilerplate pleading filed without concern for the law, the facts, or the redundant expenditure of judicial resources."
Despite the repeated dismissals, Pragovich allegedly continues to promote the frivolous scheme, and frivolous suits continue to be filed with the court in the District of Columbia. Pragovich has allegedly stated to customers that he intends to "bury" the Department of Justice and the court system with at least 1,000 lawsuits in ten separate jurisdictions
In the past decade the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against more than 435 tax preparers and tax fraud promoters. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department Web site.