Friday, April 23, 2010

Tax Protestor Follow-Up

I mentioned last week that Peter Hendrickson, one of this year's most noted tax protestors, was due for sentencing. He got a bit less than three years.

The government had asked for more, seeing as how Hendrickson is a major promoter of a fraudulent tax scheme, who boasts on his own website that his followers have procured more than $10 million in refunds using his method (he posts copies of the refund checks, making them easy for the IRS to find), and who, according to the government, may have induced over 10,000 people to file false refund claims. But, somewhat pathetically, even by the government's calculation, the total amount of taxes (including income, Medicare, and Social Security taxes) that Hendrickson himself tried to avoid over a seven year period (even considering his wife's income too) amounted to only a little over $100,000. That's about $14,300 a year. Working back from that figure, one can see that all of Hendrickson's efforts (his books, his website, etc., not to mention his day job) weren't pulling in that much dough. The result was that the sentencing guidelines recommended a fairly low sentence for him, and the judge chose not to depart upwards.

All that work, and not much to show for it. If you're going to pursue a career in fraud, one would think think the idea would be to make it pay. But in Hendrickson's case, the same amount of effort, if directed at something productive, could surely have earned a much better living. Ironically, Hendrickson was lucky he hadn't been more successful, or he'd probably find himself up the river for more time.

And Hendrickson's followers? Now that their guru has been convicted and sentenced, have the scales fallen from their eyes? Do they see him revealed as the fraud that he is?

Not at all. A specific court ruling against Hendrickson's theory means nothing to them. It only confirms their belief that Hendrickson "relies on and invokes NOTHING but very WELL-SETTLED LAW." The law, they continue to insist, is all on Hendrickson's side, and he lost because the "fedgoons and the shills" were conspiring against him. It's amazing how impervious to facts some people can be.

1 comment:

Peter said...

These guys are kooks!