There are many ways to get in trouble with tax law. As I have said in the past, if you want to get indicted it’s a bit harder. It helps to be a celebrity, have a very large tax debt, not report large amounts of funds in foreign financial accounts, or abscond with trust fund taxes. I need to add another item to that list: File liens against IRS employees who are investigating you.
Mark Ellis of Bend, Oregon is accused of filing four refund claims wherein he asked for almost $900,000. These refund claims were allegedly based on an illegal debt termination program attempting to cancel his (and others’) debts. He did receive a $311,459 refund; the others didn’t make it to him. No matter, filing a false claim for refund is a crime.
Mr. Ellis, though, was apparently upset with the IRS employees who were investigating him. Did he hire an attorney so he could negotiate with the IRS? Of course not. He filed liens against two IRS employees who were investigating him and one Timothy Geithner. Mr. Geithner is the former Secretary of the Treasury. Consider what happens when you file a lien against an IRS criminal investigator (Special Agent). He likely knows an assistant US Attorney who can make the lien vanish (and all those liens did vanish). That same assistant US Attorney has the power to indict. I think the chance of an indictment after such an act goes from probable to a certainty. And filing false liens is a crime, too.
Whether Mr. Ellis is guilty or innocent won’t be known until his trial. What is certain today is that he is a candidate for the Bozo Tax Offender of the Year for 2013.