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Press Release

Michigan Resident Sentenced to Prison for Criminal Contempt Involving Federal Tax Obligations

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A resident of Commerce Township, Michigan, was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release for criminal contempt, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. 

In July 2014, Doreen Hendrickson was convicted of criminal contempt following a federal jury trial in Detroit.  Hendrickson violated an injunction involving federal tax obligations issued by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds of the Eastern District of Michigan in May 2007.  Today’s sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts.

According to court filings and evidence presented at trial, Hendrickson and her husband, Peter Hendrickson, filed federal income tax returns for the years 2002 and 2003 on which they falsely claimed they earned zero wages.  Based on these false returns, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the Hendricksons more than $20,000 in income tax refunds that they were not entitled to receive.  In 2006, the Tax Division sued the Hendricksons to recover these refunds.  As part of that litigation, Judge Edmunds ordered the Hendricksons to file corrected amended tax returns for 2002 and 2003 that reported all of their income, and further ordered them to repay their fraudulently obtained refunds to the IRS.  Judge Edmunds also barred the Hendricksons from filing additional false tax returns.

In 2009, Peter Hendrickson was convicted of filing multiple false income tax returns, including the 2002 and 2003 returns that he filed jointly with his wife.  The tax returns at issue were based on the false and frivolous tax theories that Peter Hendrickson promoted in his book, “Cracking the Code,” and on his website, Lost Horizons.  Peter Hendrickson was sentenced to serve 27 months in prison in that case.  

The evidence presented at Doreen Hendrickson’s trial showed that she violated the injunction issued by Judge Edmunds when she failed to file amended 2002 and 2003 tax returns.  Also, in direct violation of Judge Edmunds’s order, Hendrickson filed a false income tax return for 2008 on which she falsely claimed that wages she earned as a movie extra were not taxable.  This tax return was submitted while her husband was under indictment for filing false tax returns.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Melissa S. Siskind, Jeffrey B. Bender and Jeffrey A. McLellan of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.  Ciraolo also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan for their substantial assistance.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

Updated May 18, 2016

Press Release Number: 15-432