Tax Protestor Convicted of Evasion, Failure to File and Witness Tampering
Former Florence Real Estate Agent Faces Prison for Evading U.S. Income Taxes
Eugene, Ore. - Following a four day trial in U. S. District Court in Eugene, Randall Blair Johnson, 53, of Sisters, Oregon, was found guilty of three counts of income tax evasion, three counts of willful failure to file tax returns and one count of witness tampering. Johnson is scheduled for sentencing on September 5, 2012 by U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken.
According to the superseding indictment, Johnson was a realtor and half owner of TR Hunter Real Estate, a real estate company in Florence, Oregon. Johnson's primary sources of income were from sales of real estate, commissions and, in 2005, the sale of TR Hunter Real Estate. The indictment charged that Johnson had a history of timely filing income tax returns but filed no returns for 2002 through 2005, despite being required by law to do so.
The evidence at trial proved that Johnson filed federal income tax returns for nearly thirty years. Then, in 2002, he fired his C.P.A., stopped filing returns, stopped paying income tax, and started sending frivolous tax protestor materials to the IRS and Oregon Department of Revenue.
Johnson's income more than quadrupled from 2002 to 2005 but he paid no income tax, claiming to revenue officials that the tax laws did not apply to him. An IRS revenue agent testified that Johnson owes more than $238,000 in taxes. Despite not filing his own income tax returns, Johnson paid property taxes, filed corporate tax returns for TR Hunter Real Estate, and had delinquent income tax returns prepared for his wife.
In addition to filing bogus protestor materials with the IRS, arguing he was not required to file and pay income taxes, Johnson attempted to conceal income and assets from the IRS by selling real estate outside of escrow, transferring property into the names of family members and endorsing third party checks instead of cashing them or depositing them into his bank account. When he sold his interest in TR Hunter Real Estate to his partner in 2005, he insisted that the sale not go through escrow, knowing that escrow would report the sale to the IRS.
Johnson faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the three tax evasion counts and up to one year in prison and a $100,000 for each of the three failure to file counts. The single count of witness tampering carries a maximum prison sentence of twenty years and a $250,000 fine.
This investigation was conducted by agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William "Bud" Fitzgerald and Scott Bradford.