In March of this year we wrote about Timothy Jackson, a Mississippi surgeon indicted for tax evasion. The feds claimed Dr. Jackson had not paid taxes since 2004 after he took a vow of poverty. They say, however, that his vow of poverty was nonsense. Apparently the jury agreed; Jackson was convicted of all charges last week.
While a member of the Church of Compassionate Service, Timothy Jackson claimed he donated all of his earnings to the church and a second religious organization. The IRS claimed it was nothing more than an elaborate scam. After giving the money to the church, prosecutors say he got 90% of it back. Since he allegedly earned $1.8 million dollars during the four years that made up the indictment, his vow of poverty probably netted him more than the earnings of every member of the jury that heard his case over two weeks.
Jackson is now convicted of four counts of felony tax evasion and one count of obstruction of the IRS. The latter charge stems from allegations that he used nominee accounts to conceal his income, lied to federal agents and that he somehow claimed his house was a parsonage.
Documents unsealed by the court show that Jackson was not the mastermind of the scheme. Rather the “church” was apparently created by Kevin Hartshorn of Utah. Hartshorn now has his own problems with the IRS. Documents related to that case suggest there were 49 other “ministers” besides Dr. Jackson.
Each minister takes a vow of poverty and then transfers all wealth and earnings to the church. The church then pays all expenses and needs of the ministers. Although Jackson claimed he had no expectation to get back the money, it was clear that Hartshorn never prevented his ministers from accessing their funds.
Sentencing has been set for December 18th.
If you are under investigation for tax evasion or other tax crimes, give us a call. Our criminal tax lawyers have helped people across the United States avoid prosecution and prison. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). All inquiries are kept in strict confidence and protected by the attorney-client privilege.
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