Tax protestor Irwin Schiff was sentenced to 163 months in prison -- including 151 months for tax fraud and an additional year for contempt of court -- the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service announced. He was also ordered to pay more than $4.2 million in restitution.
In October 2005, Schiff was convicted in federal district court in Las Vegas of conspiring to defraud the United States, aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns, filing his own false tax returns and evading the payment of millions of dollars in back taxes owed.
At trial, the federal agencies said that beginning in 1995 Schiff aided thousands of taxpayers in filing false federal returns to the IRS reporting zero taxable income, though the taxpayers did have reportable income. According to a government witness, Schiff's Freedom Books business sold more than $4.2 million of books and tapes encouraging customers not to pay income tax.
The evidence presented at trial also proved that Schiff evaded the payment of more than $2 million in taxes he owed the IRS from 1979 through 1985.The conviction marked the third time Schiff was convicted for committing federal tax offenses. He has previously served more than four years in jail. Schiff's girlfriend Cynthia Neun and business associate Lawrence Cohen were also convicted of aiding and assisting other taxpayers in the filing of false tax returns. Neun was sentenced to 68 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution, while Cohen was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
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