Federal Jury Convicts Husband and Wife of 10-Year-Long Tax Defiance Scheme after Six-Day Trial
Defendants claimed not to be U.S. Citizens and to be exempt from paying taxes,
then falsely sought refunds of over $420,000
ATLANTA – After a six-day trial, a federal jury today convicted Stephen Paul Thomas, 46, and Patricia Denese Anderson, 51, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, on federal charges of conspiring to defraud the United States and making false claims upon the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for their involvement in a tax defiance scheme. Thomas and Anderson were indicted on these charges by a federal grand jury on April 3, 2012.
“For over a decade, Stephen Thomas and Patricia Denese Anderson waged a campaign of obstruction against the IRS, culminating in filing false tax returns claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars in false refunds,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “This office will continue to aggressively prosecute individuals who don’t pay their fair share of taxes and claim they are exempt from the tax laws.”
“Every American who pays his or her taxes should be offended that a select few use deceit, manipulation and fraud to skirt their tax obligations,” stated Donald B. Yaden, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation. “We owe it to every American taxpayer to use all lawful means to prosecute those who knowingly and willfully take extreme measures to defy their tax obligations.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Thomas and Anderson, who jointly owned and operated an outdoor yard furnishing store and general contracting business in Duluth, Georgia, conspired to obstruct the IRS from 1999 to 2009 and submitted false claims for refunds to the IRS.
During the trial, evidence was presented that Thomas and Anderson stopped filing federal income tax returns in the 1990s. They then hired American Rights Litigators (ARL), an organization that sold and promoted tax defiance schemes, to send obstructive and harassing materials to the IRS on their behalf. The IRS repeatedly sent notices to Thomas and Anderson notifying them that they had to pay their federal income taxes and that they had to comply with the tax laws.
After the IRS shut down ARL as a result of fraudulent anti-tax actions, Thomas and Anderson continued to send a variety of obstructive, frivolous and harassing documents to IRS and Department of Treasury officials instead of paying their taxes. These documents included statements that they were not United States citizens but instead were “American citizens”; that they were not subject to the federal income tax laws; and that paying income tax was voluntary. During the course of the conspiracy, Thomas and Anderson also established business bank accounts using fictitious tax identification numbers for the purpose of hiding the money inside the accounts from the IRS. They also instructed a financial institution as well as a bartering exchange company that their family operated solely in Belize, knowing that their business was located and did business throughout the state of Georgia.
Finally, after a decade of not filing tax returns, Thomas and Anderson in 2009 submitted two false tax returns claiming over $420,000 in fraudulent refunds from the IRS. That same year, Thomas and Anderson also submitted fictitious financial instruments to the federal government, to include a document purporting to be a $100 billion private registered bond, and instructed the government to use this bogus bond to pay any of their debts to the government.
Thomas and Anderson were each convicted of two counts: conspiracy and filing a false claim to the IRS. The charges each carry a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Sentencing for Thomas and Anderson has been set for January 3, 2012, before United States District Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr.
This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas J. Krepp and Sally B. Molloy are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.