Very few tax evasion cases go to trial. Very few white collar cases in general go to trial. And when they do, the government usually (but not always) wins. If you are expecting to read about some Perry Mason or Boston Legal move, stop reading. A Denver jury earlier this week convicted self-employed contractor Michael Williams of every charge in a 10 count indictment.
Williams was charged with tax evasion, structuring, bank fraud, and interfering with IRS laws.
The indictment claimed Williams worked as a general contractor doing roofing and remodeling. He also invested in and flipped houses. Beginning in April 2005 Williams cheated on his taxes and failed to file returns. To hide his income, Williams created and used trusts.
If that wasn’t enough, in November of 2009, Williams defrauded a Colorado bank by depositing worthless fabricated United States Treasury checks for his own benefit. There were two false treasury checks totaling $55,000 payable to his company, Greenview Construction. In February of 2010, there was a third fabricated United States Treasury check in the amount of $250,000. Williams gave that one to the El Paso County Court to settle a criminal case for which he had been sentenced to a jail term!
Once the scheme began to unravel, Williams began mailing tax protester letters to IRS and Treasury Department. He also tried to name and involve several Colorado judges in his scheme.
If there is one thing we long ago learned, the IRS hates tax protesters (now referred to as “tax defiers” in IRS parlance). The chances of getting prosecuted for tax evasion are quite slim. Start fabricating phony Treasury checks and the chances of getting prosecuted skyrocket! “It’s only a matter of time — when you willfully conceal income and interfere with IRS laws to this degree — you will be investigated and brought to justice,” said Special Agent Stephen Boyd, an IRS Criminal Investigation Division supervisor in Denver.
Williams faces life in prison when sentenced in January. Given his apparent defiance, Williams is probably going to spend many years behind bars.
The lesson in this case is obvious. Businesses fail everyday. Bankruptcy courts can give businesses and their owners a new start. Fabricating government checks, giving bad checks to courts and becoming a tax protester is only going to call attention to yourself, however. That kind of behavior will send you to prison.
If you need help with criminal tax defense or need an experienced tax evasion lawyer, give us a call. Mahany & Ertl is a full service, national boutique practice concentrating in tax evasion investigations, IRS audit defense and trust fund recovery penalty assessments. Founding partner Brian Mahany is a former agent and Assistant Attorney General – Tax. Our team has decades of IRS criminal tax lawyer experience to help preserve your freedom.
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