The Anti-Loophole: The “Voluntary” Tax Which is Not So Voluntary

Once again, we are confronted with the truth the our “voluntary” tax system is not entirely voluntary after all. As Dan Ackroyd said on Saturday Night Live in the 90s, playing then-presidential contender, Bob Dole as he berated then-President, Bill Clinton, “You know it, I know it, and the American People know it.”

But, apparently, North Carolinian, Chet Lee West, didn’t know it. Or so he acted. He was convicted in District Court of three counts of tax evasion. West, acting as his own attorney at trial, stated in his closing arguments that the jurors should ‘see the truth and set me free.” The jurors did not agree with his statement and reached the guilty verdict in only 1 hour.

Owing more than $52,800 in back taxes, West, claimed he found a loophole in the tax code that freed him from having to pay income taxes. West attempted to read from a book containing federal tax codes but the judge had him stop, explaining that she would instruct the jurors what the law is.

During the trial, West admitted that he had not filed taxes since 2000 and had sent a letter to the IRS explaining that he elected to not be subject to income tax.  (Now that is an election almost everyone could support – at least until one considers Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s take on this issue. Holmes famously said: “I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization.”) The IRS responded to West’s “election not to be subject to income tax” with a letter back to West informing him that American citizens cannot opt out of paying taxes.

Donald J. Kleine, the Federal prosecutor said that West knew he had an obligation to pay his taxes but, “just didn’t want to.”

West was sentenced to Federal prison for a term of more than 4 years and ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $439,515.

Chiropractor Adjusts Tax Return, Gets 15 Months

Working on more than spines, a Pennsylvania chiropractor attempted a sort of tax decompression by manipulating and adjusting her tax return to file a 2006 federal income tax return that falsely claimed her taxable income was $89,754, when, in fact, she had taxable income of $1,151,928, and owed at least $363,566 in taxes for that year.

Unhappily for tspine-diagramhe chiropractor, Maria Giacalone-Hewson, 43, of Canadensis, Penn., who operated Canadensis Healthcare Inc. was sentenced to 15 months in prison for aiding the preparation and filing of a false federal income tax return and false statements relating to healthcare matters.

At her sentencing, Giacalone-Hewson was also ordered to pay $113,821 in taxes that she owed forthe years 2007 through 2010.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Mariani ordered that Giacalone-Hewson be supervised by a probation officer for three years following her release from prison.

Continue reading

Simple Math: $66 is Not $198,713, and so, a Plea of Tax Evasion is Pled

The pluses and minuses of understating one’s income on a tax return include, on the plus side, one’s tax bill will be smaller. But, on the minus side, such an understatement is a crime with serious consequences.

Continue reading

Ma-and-Pa Ponzi Schemers Sentenced for Medical Research Tax Scam and $10M Ponzi Scheme

In the wake of master swindler and former NASDAQ chairman, Bernard Madoff’s $65-billion dollar, multi-decade, worldwide Ponzi scheme, it might seem like scams are popping up everywhere one looks..

In this context, in January, 2009, a U.S. Justice Department announcement reports that Ponzi-schemer-or-collaborator Shirley G. Graybill, 72, of North Haven, Conn., was sentenced to two years of probation — the first four months of which she must spend in home confinement. She had pleaded guilty in June, 2005 to one count of making and subscribing to a false 2002 tax return.

What happened between the June 2005 guilty plea and the three-and-a-half-year later sentencing announcement?

According to court records, the Triple Diamond Foundation was an entity created by Graybill and her husband, Dale L. Graybill, purportedly to fund cancer research, but which did not have tax-exempt status from the IRS. The Graybills controlled the Triple Diamond Foundation and its bank account. And apparently, they were quite adept at using that bank account. Continue reading