2008 Tax Offender of the Year

There are all sorts of awards given, but the award I give is special. To be considered for the Tax Offender of the Year award, you must do more than cheat on your taxes. It has to be special; it really needs to be a Bozo-like action or actions.

There were several worthy nominations who just missed the cut. The Orange County Great Park Board for wasting nearly all of the nearly $200 million they received to fund the Great Park. Yet the Great Park Board hasn’t violated any laws; they’re just acting like many governmental entities.

Another government nominee was the legislature and the governor of California. Revenues into the Bronze Golden State have increased since 2000 yet California faces a $15 – $20 billion budget deficit. They have “balanced” recent budgets solely by accounting gimmicks. The day of reckoning has arrived but both the Democrats and Republicans refuse to compromise. This is another deserving nominee yet there’s the same problem as with the Great Park. They’re acting like Bozos, but they haven’t violated any laws.

Coming in just out of the money for this year’s prize is Randy Nowak of Tampa, Florida. Mr. Nowak was facing an IRS audit and it wasn’t going well. So he hired a hit man. Of course, assuming the unlucky IRS auditor died the IRS would just assign another Revenue Agent to the case. Mr. Nowak will likely spend several years at ClubFed (and pay the tax, penalties, and interest). This was truly Bozo.

Yet Mr. Nowak’s case falls just a little short of this year’s winner. For that, we must head to Maple Grove, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities. Robert Beale founded a company that became Comtrol Corporation in 1982. Comtrol specializes in computer connectivity products. Mr. Beale, as CEO, earned a respectable $700,000 salary. But Mr. Beale had different ideas than most of us about income taxes.

He became a member of the tax protester movement, arguing one of the numerous schemes (all of which have been thrown out by the courts) that you don’t have to pay income taxes. Mr. Beale became a follower of Irwin Schiff. Mr. Schiff claimed that no one had to pay income taxes. Mr. Schiff is now serving a 13-year sentence for following his own advice. (Hint: You do have to pay income taxes.)

Mr. Beale directed the bookkeeper at his company to first not withhold taxes on the $700,000 and then to pay him through an offshore shell company. He began to file statements with the IRS claiming he didn’t have to pay income taxes. In January 2006 he was indicted for tax evasion. Now, if you were indicted for tax evasion you’d get a good attorney, perhaps talk settlement with the IRS, and you’d certainly start planning your defense.

Not Mr. Beale. When his case was called for trial in August 2006 Mr. Beale was nowhere to be found. Mr. Beale told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he resided with friends during his fourteen months of being a fugitive. He went to Orlando and made the “dumb mistake” of using the same cellphone for eleven months to call his wife. He was arrested in November 2007 in Orlando.

His case finally came to trial this past April. Again, if you’re facing tax evasion and unlawful flight charges it’s time to hire a good attorney. Not Mr. Beale. He represented himself during his trial. But there’s more, and now we get to the truly Bozo aspect of this case.

Mr. Beale and three confederates decide to arrest the judge. No, I’m not making this up. As Joe Kristan noted (quoting TwinCities.com),

Robert Beale, 65, was charged Monday in federal court with one count of conspiracy to impede an officer and one count of obstruction of justice. Also indicted on the same charges were Frederick Bond, 62, of Champlin; John Pelton, 67, of Stillwater; and Norman Pool, 43, of Blaine.

“God wants me to destroy the judge,” Beale is accused of saying in court records…

The men issued fake warrants for Montgomery’s arrest, filed fraudulent liens, planned to disrupt court proceedings and planned to arrest Montgomery. The plans were concocted at meetings of their “common law court” in Little Canada and in phone calls from Beale, after he was jailed.

Going after a federal judge is an excellent way to make sure that you reside in ClubFed for a long, long time. And using prison telephones to threaten a judge is really Bozo given that calls are routinely monitored.

Meanwhile, the trial of Mr. Beale on tax evasion charges moved forward. The trial took eight days but the jury needed only two hours to convict Mr. Beale on all five tax evasion charges and the count of unlawful flight. Mr. Beale, in closing arguments, apparently recognized the futility of his case, noting, “[the trial was] such a waste of time and resources because of my beliefs.”

Mr. Beale received 11 years at ClubFed for these convictions. When sentenced, he told Judge Ann Montgomery, “I do not consent to incarceration, fine or supervised release…I have not committed a crime.” No matter, he’ll still be spending the time at ClubFed.

In October Mr. Beale was found guilty of conspiracy to impede an officer and obstruction of justice for his attempt to arrest the judge. He’s still awaiting sentencing on those charges.

All-in-all Mr. Beale is a worthy winner. He joins our two prior winners: Sharon Lee Caulder, a voodoo priestess, won in 2005 and Gene Haas, a businessman who decided to get back at the government after he lost a patent case by committing tax fraud, the 2007 winner.

What will 2009 bring? I’m always hopeful that I’ll be able to say that no one rose to the heights necessary to win this award. Based on past history that’s very, very unlikely to be the case.

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One Response to “2008 Tax Offender of the Year”

  1. taxrascal says:

    Beale really knows how to go all out, and he has a point: if you’re already trying to argue that the government is stealing trillions of dollars from innocent taxpayers, doing something crazy like arresting a judge isn’t that much weirder.