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Press Release

Lee County Man Sentenced For False Tax Claims And Obstructing The Internal Revenue Service

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Fort Myers, Florida – U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell has sentenced Ronald Francis Croteau to 56 months in federal prison for filing false tax claims and for obstructing or impeding the administration of the Internal Revenue laws. A federal jury found him guilty on January 22, 2015.   

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Croteau belonged to a sovereign citizen, anti-government group; claimed to be a member of the Little Shell Pembina Band of North Dakota; and deemed himself to be an ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven. Between September 2008 and May 2010, he filed 10 false and fraudulent income tax returns claiming refunds totaling more than $3.8 million.  These returns were false and fraudulent in that they claimed federal tax withholdings from fraudulent 1099-OID forms purportedly issued to Croteau by financial institutions.

After being notified by the IRS that his income tax returns were frivolous, Croteau continued to file fraudulent income tax returns. In addition, he obstructed the administration of the Internal Revenue laws by filing false liens against IRS employees, submitting fraudulent instruments to the IRS in an attempt to discharge his tax liabilities, and recording false documents with the Lee County Clerk of Court.        

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey F. Michelland.


Updated February 4, 2016