FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SEEKS FINES AND POSSIBLE JAIL TIME AGAINST FLORIDA PROMOTER OF TAX FRAUD SCHEMES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice today asked a federal court in Tampa, Florida, to enter a civil contempt order against Joseph Sweet and his business, EDM Enterprises for violating a prior Court order relating to their involvement in tax fraud schemes.
On February 20, 2002, the federal court in Tampa ordered Sweet and EDM to stop promoting their illegal tax evasion plans, to notify their clients of the order, and to give the Justice Department documents identifying all of their clients. According to the government motion filed today, Sweet and EDM have violated every provision of the Court's prior order.
In today's court filing, the Department's Tax Division asks the court to impose fines of up to $6,000 per day against Sweet and his business if they continue to defy the injunction. In addition, the government asks that Sweet be imprisoned if the fines do not result in compliance with the injunction.
"The Justice Department will not tolerate the promotion of illegal tax evasion schemes, and will seek contempt sanctions where promoters violate court orders prohibiting their illegal actions," said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Department's Tax Division.
In court papers filed previously in the case, the government said that Sweet and EDM sold and sell tax-avoidance plans stating that paying federal income taxes is voluntary and that wages are not income. The court papers also said that the plan materials are sold in conjunction with Sweet's self-published book "Good News For FORM 1040 Filers: Your Compliance is Strictly VOLUNTARY! BAD NEWS For The IRS! Everything You Ever Needed to Know About the Income Tax That the IRS Is Afraid You'll Find Out." Sweet and EDM sold books and other plan materials to at least 650 persons and sold at least 400 "trusts." The government said that Sweet and EDM's activities could cost American taxpayers more than $6.5 million. The government also alleged that numerous web sites advertise "Dr. Sweet's program," and Sweet himself actively participates in marketing the plan materials.
People hearing about tax benefits which sound "too good to be true" should check them out with a trusted professional or the Internal Revenue Service. Anyone who has information about suspected tax fraud should report it to the IRS tip line at 1-800-829-0433.