Washington (Dec. 1, 2003) -- A federal court has permanently barred a Fort Collins, Colo., couple and their organization from promoting a tax scam.

Chief Judge Lewis T. Babcock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ordered Austin Gary Cooper, Martha Cooper, and their organizations -- Taking Back America and The Ten Foundation -- to stop promoting a tax scam in which customers are falsely advised they can avoid federal income taxes by renouncing their U.S. citizenship in favor of "American" citizenship.

The permanent injunction requires the defendants to stop promoting the scam, to give the Justice Department a list of customers who have bought materials from the defendants, and to post the order on the defendants' Web site.  The order makes permanent the preliminary injunction entered last month against the defendants.

"It is a victory for all law-abiding taxpayers when the government shuts down a tax-scam promotion," said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Tax Division.  "Stopping these illegal schemes is a top priority for the Tax Division."

According to the Justice Department, the couple sold their "expatriation" scam for as much as $1,600 to as many as 2,000 individuals nationwide.  Evidence showed that the defendants and Taking Back America gave customers fraudulent instructions on how to prevent their employers from withholding taxes from their wages and furnished customers with form letters to send to the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration requesting a return of back taxes.

-- WebCPA staff

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