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Dr. Sweet & the JoY Foundation >
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES TO HALT
FRAUDULENT INCOME TAX SCHEME
Foundation" Claims To Have Thousands Of Members
Nationwide Tells Members They Need Not File Returns Or Pay Tax
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice today filed
a civil suit in federal court in Illinois directing three persons
and their organization, "the Joy Foundation," for promoting
an illegal tax scheme. The government alleged that the defendants
charge thousands of dollars for materials and courses containing
false or fraudulent statements about the income tax laws. Yesterday,
the Department filed a similar suit in federal court in Chicago
seeking to stop an alleged abusive tax scheme promoted by two Chicago-area
men, Michael D. Richmond and Rex E. Black.
"This lawsuit is part of the Justice Department's ongoing
effort to stop abusive tax schemes at their sourcethe promoters
who peddle them," said Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney
General for the Department of Justice's Tax Division. "The
Tax Division is committed to bringing appropriate legal action to
uniformly enforce the tax laws Congress enacts. We will take the
necessary action to stop people who attempt to defraud the public
using this and other abusive tax plans."
According to the complaint, filed in the United States District
Court in Peoria, Illinois, the defendants, Robert Lawrence, Yvonne
M. Malone, Jack L. Malone, and the Joy Foundation, disseminated
false statements about the tax laws, advising taxpayers to:
not file income tax returns,
improperly attempt to avoid tax withholding from wages,
transfer assets to bogus trusts, and
not pay federal income tax.
According to the complaint, the defendants charged customers $1,650
to join the Joy Foundation. For this fee, the defendants' programs
allegedly assist customers in "un-volunteering" from the
federal income tax system through a number of steps. The Joy Foundation
instructs customers to begin sending a series of letters to the
IRS that will, the defendants claim, decrease the risk of IRS audit
and defeat criminal charges based on willfulness. The complaint
further alleges that the defendants teach Joy Foundation customers
how to evade IRS collection efforts.
The complaint states that the defendants' promotional activities
at a Mitsubishi Motors plant and elsewhere in the Peoria area recruited
current or former Mitsubishi employees as Joy Foundation members.
The government further alleges that a number of Mitsubishi employees
have attempted to prevent Mitsubishi from withholding federal income
tax from their wages and have stopped filing federal income tax
returns. The complaint states that the defendants promote their
programs on numerous websites.
The complaint notes that a federal court in Florida last month
directed Joseph Sweet, who is affiliated with the Joy Foundation.
The government asks the Illinois federal court in today's filing
to order the defendants to stop promoting their scheme and to turn
over to the government a list of participants.
"The law is crystal clear that people must pay their taxes,"
said IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti. "There is no gray
area on this issue. For decades, the courts have consistently upheld
the tax law."
People hearing about tax benefits that sound "too good to
be true" should check them out with a trusted tax professional
or the IRS. Anyone with information about suspected tax fraud should
report it to the IRS tip line at 1-800-829-0433.