A previously convicted felon and long-time tax defier who also worked as a tax preparer was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Timothy Garrison, 60, of Mt. Vernon, Wash., was sentenced Wednesday to 42 months in prison, two years of supervised release and $95,626 in restitution. He pleaded guilty last year to assisting with the filing of false tax returns. He admitted to preparing tax returns for a Washington State couple that allowed them to avoid more than $88,000 in taxes for 2007 and 2008. He allegedly prepared more than 50 tax returns with false or fraudulent information, resulting in a tax loss of more than $2.5 million to the federal government.

Garrison has been active in the “County Ranger” and “Sovereign Citizen” movements, whose members allegedly believe that state and federal laws do not apply to them. His activities include making threats to “arrest” law enforcement officers and filing bogus liens against the homes of law enforcement officers. Garrison was repeatedly told by a Deputy U.S. Marshal that it was illegal for him to “arrest” a law enforcement officer, and that such an action would be dangerous. Garrison, who had a prior felony fraud conviction, had seven firearms in his home, despite being legally prohibited from possessing firearms. As part of his sentence, Garrison is ordered to remove six liens he placed on the properties of public servants in Skagit County.

At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez told him, “You are free to believe anything. You are free to question authority. What you don’t have is the ability to break the law and not suffer the consequences.”

“When Americans go to a tax professional, they do not expect to receive faulty tax guidance from someone with a personal agenda,” said Kenneth J. Hines, the IRS special agent in charge of the Pacific Northwest. “Anyone who willfully breaks the tax laws, or uses others in an attempt to undermine the tax system, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Garrison is the second of six defendants being prosecuted in the Western District of Washington for crimes tied to the “Sovereign Citizen” movement. Last month David Russell Myrland was sentenced to 42 months in prison for making threats against the mayor and city attorney of Kirkland, Washington.

Two other defendants remain detained pending trial. Raymond Jarlik-Bell of Yelm is charged with making false claims for tax refunds. He and his wife, Ute Jarlik-Bell (who is not in custody) are scheduled for trial in April 2012. Kenneth Wayne Leaming is scheduled to be arraigned in Tacoma on Friday on six federal felony counts: three counts of retaliating against a federal judge or law enforcement officer by filing a false claim, concealing a person from arrest, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and using a false and fictitious instrument. Leaming remains detained and a trial date will be set at the arraignment.

Leaming’s co-defendant, David Stephenson, is currently incarcerated in federal prison in Arizona. He will be brought to Tacoma for arraignment.

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