News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Skagit County Tax Defier Sentenced To 3+ Years In Prison For Assisting In The Filing Of False Tax Returns

Defendant also Possessed Multiple Firearms despite Prohibition from Prior Felony Conviction

February 1, 2012

            A previously convicted felon, and long-time tax defier was sentenced today to 42 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and $95,626 in restitution, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  TIMOTHY GARRISON, 60, of Mt. Vernon, Washington, pleaded guilty last year to two counts of assisting with the filing of false tax returns.  The counts relate to his preparation of tax returns for a Washington State couple which fraudulently allowed them to avoid more than $88,000 in taxes for years 2007 and 2008.  GARRISON, as a tax preparer, prepared more than 50 returns with false or fraudulent information, resulting in a tax loss of more than $2.5 million.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said, “You are free to believe anything.  You are free to question authority.  What you don’t have is the ability to break the law and not suffer the consequences.”

            GARRISON has been active in the “County Ranger” and “Sovereign Citizen” movements.  Activists in these groups believe state and federal laws do not apply to them.  GARRISON’s activities include making threats to “arrest” law enforcement officers and filing bogus liens against the homes of law enforcement officers.  GARRISON was repeatedly told by a Deputy U.S. Marshal that it was illegal for him to “arrest” a law enforcement officer, and that such an action would be dangerous.  GARRISON, who had a prior felony fraud conviction, had seven firearms in his home, despite being legally prohibited from possessing firearms.  As part of his sentence, GARRISON is ordered to remove six liens he placed on the properties of public servants in Skagit County.

            “No one is above the law,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “The defendant’s scheme now creates a hardship for those who put their trust in Mr. Garrison – they have big tax bills to pay.  His further abuse of the legal system with fraudulent liens and so-called ‘arrest warrants,’ is a dangerous mix for our law enforcement officers who are trying to keep our communities safe.”

“When Americans go to a tax professional, they do not expect to receive faulty tax guidance from someone with a personal agenda,” said Kenneth J. Hines, the IRS Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific Northwest.  “Anyone who willfully breaks the tax laws, or uses others in an attempt to undermine the tax system, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” 

            GARRISON is the second of six defendants being prosecuted in the Western District of Washington for crimes tied to the “Sovereign Citizen” movement.  Last month David Russell Myrland was sentenced to 42 months in prison for making threats against the Mayor and City Attorney of Kirkland, Washington.

            Two other defendants remain detained pending trial. Raymond Jarlik-Bell of Yelm is charged with making false claims for tax refunds.  He and his wife, Ute Jarlik-Bell (who is not in custody) are scheduled for trial in April 2012.  Kenneth Wayne Leaming will be arraigned in Tacoma Friday February 3, 2012, on six federal felonies: three counts of retaliating against a federal judge or law enforcement officer by filing a false claim, concealing a person from arrest, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and using a false and fictitious instrument.  Leaming remains detained and a trial date will be set at the arraignment.  Leaming’s co-defendant, David Stephenson, is currently incarcerated in federal prison in Arizona.  He will be brought to Tacoma for arraignment.

            The GARRISON case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations Division and the U.S. Marshal Service.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jill Otake and Vince Lombardi.

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