FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2010
TDD (202) 514-1888
FOUR FLORIDA PROMOTERS OF TAX DEFIER SCHEMES CONVICTED OF TAX AND MAIL FRAUD
One Promoter Previously Sentenced in Connection with Actor Wesley Snipes
WASHINGTON – Four promoters of a Florida-based business that sold fraudulent tax schemes were convicted today of selling worthless "bills of exchange" for the purpose of impeding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and promoting other schemes to orchestrate tax fraud, the Justice Department and IRS announced today. The evidence at trial showed that the four and their employees manufactured over $1 billion in fictitious financial instruments purporting to be drawn on the U.S. Treasury.
Eddie Ray Kahn, Stephen C. Hunter, Danny True and Allan J. Tanguay, all of Florida, were found guilty after an 18-day trial. Jerry Williamson, who was charged in the same case, pleaded guilty in April of 2009 to one count of mail fraud for sending a fictitious bill of exchange purporting to be drawn on the U.S. Treasury. Chief Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington, who presided over the trial, set sentencing for August 30, 2010.
All four men were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit mail fraud in the operation of American Rights Litigators/Guiding Light of God Ministries (ARL). In addition, each defendant was convicted of one or more counts of mail fraud. The evidence at trial showed that Kahn founded and ran ARL from 1996 through 2004. During that time, ARL enrolled more than 4,000 customers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Hunter, True and Tanguay worked at ARL with Kahn to develop and sell tax defiance schemes based on deliberate misrepresentations of the legal foundation of the tax system.
The evidence at trial showed that the purpose of the tax defiance schemes promoted by the four men was to thwart the IRS in its attempts to assess and collect taxes by various means. These schemes included manufacturing and selling more than one thousand worthless bills of exchange supposedly drawn on the U.S. Treasury for customers to use in purported payment of their taxes, as well as producing false and harassing complaints against IRS employees that were sent to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in Washington.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against ARL which resulted in a December 2003 preliminary injunction ordering ARL to cease selling its schemes. The evidence at trial showed that the defendants continued to prepare fraudulent and obstructive correspondence to the IRS on behalf of ARL customers, even after the entry of that order. ARL injunction: http://www.justice.gov/tax/prtax/txdv03730.htm. Kahn was previously sentenced in connection with the Wesley Snipes case: www.justice.gov/tax/usaopress/2008/txdv08343.htm. The evidence in that case showed that Snipes was a customer of ARL.
"Convictions, like the one returned against these defendants today, send a loud and clear message that illegal tax defiers will be investigated, prosecuted, and subjected to the full punishment of the law for their actions," said John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department Tax Division.
"The defendants in this scheme manufactured and sold worthless "bills of exchange" for use in paying their tax liability. This scheme was nothing more than a sham to disguise their intent to evade the payment of taxes," said Victor S.O. Song, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. "These criminal actions will not be tolerated. Individuals who intentionally evade their legal responsibility to pay taxes will be brought to justice."
Acting Assistant Attorney General DiCicco commended the IRS agents who investigated the case, as well as Tax Division Trial Attorneys Jeffrey McLellan, Tino Lisella and Melissa Siskind, who prosecuted the case. Additional information about the Justice Department's Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at www.usdoj.gov/tax.