Nebraska “Sovereign Citizen” Convicted of Filing False Liens Against Federal Officials and Federal Tax Crimes
A federal jury in Omaha, Nebraska, found Donna Marie Kozak guilty on Friday of conspiracy to file and filing false liens against two U.S. District Court judges, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska, two Assistant U.S. Attorneys and an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) special agent, the Justice Department announced.
The federal jury also convicted Kozak of filing a false claim against the United States for $660,000 and for corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the due administration of the internal revenue laws. Kozak was remanded into custody pending sentencing. The maximum prison term for each false lien charge is 10 years, five years for the false claim charge and three years for the obstructing the IRS charge. Many of the offenses have an additional 10 years of potential imprisonment because they were committed while Kozak was on pretrial release.
Based on the evidence introduced at trial and court filings, Kozak, a former member of the so-called sovereign citizen group “Republic for the United States of America,” engaged in a conspiracy to retaliate against federal officials involved in the criminal investigation and prosecution of David and Bernita Kleensang, associates of Kozak who were convicted of federal tax crimes in 2012. Kozak initially retaliated against the federal judge who presided over the Kleensang trial by filing a false lien against her for $19 million with the Boyd County, Nebraska, clerk’s office. After a federal grand jury indicted Kozak for filing the false lien and for federal tax crimes, she filed five $18 million false liens against federal officials at the Washington County, Nebraska, register of deeds office while on pretrial release.
The evidence introduced at trial and court filings also showed that since the late 1990s, Kozak has engaged in a long series of fraudulent schemes to obstruct the internal revenue laws. These included placing her property in sham trusts, establishing a sham charitable foundation, sending harassing correspondence to IRS employees and filing bogus tax returns, trust returns, private-foundation returns and other false documents with the IRS. In 2008, she filed a tax return based on fictitious income and tax withholdings on Form 1099-OID statements that claimed a refund of $660,000.
This case was investigated by special agents of the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Brian Bailey and Matthew Hoffman of the department’s Tax Division prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at the division website.