Contact Person: DeWayne Pearson (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina ----- United States Attorney Beth Drake announced today that Lawrence Singleton, age 60, of Columbia, pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with the administration of tax laws in violation of Title 26, United States Code Section 7212(a). Facts presented in court indicate that Singleton is a former United States Postal Employee with ties to the “sovereign citizen” movement. “Sovereign citizens” are U.S. citizens who claim not to recognize the authority of federal, state or local governments. Typically, they argue that they do not have an obligation to adhere to the laws, policies or regulations created by the government.
According to facts presented during the hearing, Singleton fraudulently filed an identity theft affidavit with the Internal Revenue Service claiming that his identity had been stolen and that it changed his tax liability. Singleton then attempted to pay a $72,000 tax bill using a fraudulent check. Facts presented in court also showed that Singleton attempted to deposit a fraudulent check purportedly worth hundreds of thousands of dollars’ into a bank account and that he used a similar bogus check in an attempt to purchase an automobile. Sentencing in the case has not yet been scheduled but Singleton faces a possible sentence of 3 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $5,000.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service. “The refutation of frivolous arguments through enforcement helps maintain the integrity of the tax laws of this nation by making sure all citizens are treated equally and pay their fair share,” said acting IRS Special Agent in Charge Michael Daniels. This investigation and conviction were pursued in furtherance of the FBI’s national strategy aimed at disrupting the criminal activity of individuals claiming to be sovereign citizens and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson of the Columbia office.