Tax scam promoters John J. Rizzo and his wife, Carol, were sentenced to 43 months and 24 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in a tax evasion scheme, the Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service announced.

In addition to the prison sentences, each of the Rizzos was also fined $10,000, instructed to cooperate with the IRS in payment of tax liabilities, and prohibited from providing tax advice. Following their release from prison, the couple will be supervised during their first three years.

According to the plea agreement, between 1999 and 2002, Rizzo was a frequent speaker at offshore seminars hosted by the Institute of Global Prosperity. At those seminars, he promoted the Millennium 2000 Reliance Defense Program to thousands of people --resulting in more than $4 million in sales revenue for the Rizzos. The program included written materials taxpayers could use to establish "good faith" defenses in case of potential criminal tax prosecutions.

In February 2004, both Rizzo, a former municipal court judge, and his wife pleaded guilty to conspiring to impede and impair the IRS in the ascertainment and collection of income tax and willfully failing to file a federal income tax return for 2000. Rizzo also pleaded guilty to felony charges of willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false income tax return and perjury before the grand jury.

Rizzo also admitted to knowingly providing false and misleading testimony to a grand jury by testifying that he and his wife filed federal tax returns for the years 1999, 2000 and 2001, when he and his wife had not filed returns.

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