Boy, what a year. And what choices we have in naming our 2005 Offender of the Year. The nominees include,
– Richard Hatch, who had over 300 million witnesses to winning $1 million on Survivor, but didn’t include the winnings on his tax return (among other alleged problems);
– John Ashton Wray, Jr., and Judge Michael Luttig of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Luttig wrote an opinion that says that Wray’s failure to file income tax returns, “is not a serious crime.” (Hat Tip: TaxProf Blog);
– David Guardino, of Caryville, TN (hat tip, Roth Tax Updates). Mr. Guardino is a self-proclaimed psychic accused of tax evasion. Didn’t he know this was coming?
– Willy Witzel (courtesy of Roth Tax Updates). Mr. Witzel’s son, Roy, prepared his tax return. When Roy explained his tax return to Willy, Roy got angry and attacked Willy with a sword. Both were martial arts experts. Roy, in self-defense, had to kill his father. (Read the whole story from the link above.)
– All of the taxpayers who claimed that there is no income tax in front of the Tax Court.
And our winner is…
Sharon Lee Caulder, formerly of Oakland and now from New Orleans, our voodoo priestess who wrote a book and was convicted of tax evasion. She did not include the $1.7 million she earned between 1998 and 2002 (mainly from sales of her book, Mark of Voodoo, on her tax returns. As I wrote when she was convicted, “Voodoo is more profitable than I realized, especially if your net income after taxes is the same as your net income before taxes (until Uncle Sam catches you).” Ms. Caulder will be sentenced in February, and faces up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million.
Thanks to all of our lucky participants and I’m sure we’ll have just as good a bunch of players in 2006.