Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Federal Court Bars Oregon Man from Promoting Tax-Fraud Schemes

Ashland Man Promoted Tax Scams Involving Sham Entities

WASHINGTON – A federal court has permanently barred Robert Pendell from promoting any scheme that assists or advises customers to attempt to violate the tax laws, the Justice Department announced today.  The civil injunction order was entered by Judge Owen M. Panner of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon.  According to the government complaint, Pendell resides in Ashland, Ore.


The United States sued Pendell, Eugene Casternovia, Robert Hagopian, Mark Lyon and their company, the Southern Oregon Resource Center Educational Services (SORCE) in April 2008 to enjoin them from promoting a scheme to conceal their customers’ assets from the Internal Revenue Service.  As the government alleged in its amended complaint, and as the court found, Pendell promoted tax scams that involved the sale and use of sham entities through SORCE and a related multilevel marketing organization called Pinnacle Quest International.  The court also found that Pendell organized and marketed these programs as a fraudulent means for customers to evade the reporting and payment of federal taxes.


According to the court, injunctions were previously entered against Casternovia and Lyon.  In recommending that Pendell be enjoined, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Clarke cited a 2005 videotaped interview in which Pendell equated the payment of taxes to slavery and stated that SORCE products enabled customers to “reclaim their sovereign rights.”  The court found that SORCE had at least 350 customers and, according to its internal records, made more than $1.6 million in 2005 through the sale of its programs.


In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of tax-fraud promoters and unscrupulous tax preparers.  Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department website.

Press Release Number: 
Updated December 6, 2021