It may take a while, but the IRS always comes.
An Oregon computer consultant who owned assets and businesses for millions of dollars was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison after a complex, decades-long effort to avoid paying his taxes.
Robert Andrew Lund, 63, of Lebanon, Oregon, had gone to great lengths to hide his income from his IT company, rental properties, health food store, bookstore and scuba diving business He even collected food stamps and Medicaid benefits, prosecutors mentioned.
Lund, who worked at Hewlett Packard in the 1970s and then established a successful computer programming consultancy, pleaded guilty in July to charges of tax evasion, non-payment of income tax personal and employee benefits theft. He was sentenced this week to 41 months in federal prison.
A message left with Lund’s lawyer was not immediately returned.
“‘[Lund] claimed he was not a U.S. citizen and that the IRS had no authority over him – language consistent with the Sovereign Citizens movement. ‘“
Lund’s tax evasion odyssey dates back to the mid-1990s, when he was convicted of illegally structuring his computer consulting firm through a trust in an attempt to avoid paying. the IRS, and was ordered to pay $ 444,000 in back taxes.
Instead of paying what he owed, Lund appealed the decision and simply stopped filing taxes, prosecutors said. He then embarked on a lengthy letter-writing campaign with the IRS in which he claimed he was not a U.S. citizen and that the tax agency had no authority over him – consistent language to the movement of sovereign citizens.
Members of the movement deny the legitimacy of the US government and often refuse to pay taxes and undermine the justice system with lengthy and obstructive legal proceedings. Meanwhile, Lund had retained the services of a tax protest lawyer who was later convicted of tax evasion and struck off the bar.
Prosecutors say Lund has also moved many of its assets – including its IT business, a 90-acre complex with a seven-bedroom house and airstrip, the old town hall and the post offices of ‘Albany, Oregon, and a trailer park he owned – in multiple layers of corporate entities controlled by others, including his father.
In the meantime, as Lund lost his appeals against his tax judgment, he attempted to file for bankruptcy several times and claimed and received tens of thousands of dollars in food stamps and Medicaid benefits.
On a request for a food coupon, Lund claimed he was a party handyman who only made $ 810 per month. Prosecutors said that while this was happening, Lund actually owned property and businesses worth millions.
As he stopped to pay what he owed in taxes, prosecutors say the bill has steadily increased with penalties and interest to $ 1.7 million. As part of his guilty plea, Lund agreed to pay that figure to the IRS and Oregon state officials for the fraudulent benefits he received.
In court records, Lund’s attorney said his client admitted taking poor tax and legal advice from people aligned with the sovereign movement. He said that over the past few years he had become a naturopath and was committed to helping people.
Dozens of letters written to the judge asking for mercy describe Lund as a man of God who was a great spiritual advisor to many and a loving grandfather.