Another “sovereign citizen” sentenced in tax fraud scheme

A 70-year-old accountant faces 8 years in prison for filing false returns and encouraging others to do the same

Topics: Southern Poverty Law Center, Sovereign Citizens, Tax fraud, Raymond Leo Jarlik Bell, ,

Another "sovereign citizen" sentenced in tax fraud scheme
This article was originally published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center A federal judge in Seattle had a short, simple message for a 70-year-old “sovereign citizen” accountant who persuaded other antigovernment activists to file fraudulent tax returns that called for refunds equal to their personal debts.

The tax fraud cost the government $700,000 in erroneous payments. For his work, Raymond Leo Jarlik Bell received a 10 percent cut of the refunds paid to others and a flat fee for each bogus return he filed. He also received a fraudulent refund on his own taxes of approximately $35,000.

“Your scheme … is fraud at its core,” U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton told Bell. “You are hurting people intentionally, regardless of your adherence to [your beliefs].”

The judge also had another message for Bell at the hearing last Friday: He ordered him to spend 97 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised released and to pay $705,276 in restitution.

Bell assisted at least eight people in seeking fraudulent tax refunds of more than $3 million. The scheme relied on a bogus use of 1099-OID forms to claim refunds to which the taxpayer was not entitled.

Others involved in the scheme have already been convicted. A major federal investigation involving the FBI, the IRS and U.S. Marshals Service led to the 2011 arrests of several members of a sovereign citizen group in Western Washington. Those arrested and convicted included David Russell Myrland, prosecuted for making interstate threats and sentenced to 40 months in prison; Timothy Garrison, prosecuted for various tax offenses and sentenced to 42 months; Kenneth Wayne Leaming, prosecuted for false liens, harboring a fugitive and firearms offenses, sentenced to 97 months; and David Carroll Stephenson, prosecuted for false lien offenses, sentenced to 120 months.



Bell and others also were involved in the “County Rangers,” described by investigators as the group’s “armed enforcement wing.”

Even after his arrest two years ago, Bell continued filing what prosecutors say are  “frivolous and nonsensical” legal documents from his jail cell. Prosecutors describe him as a “determined, persistent offender who does not believe federal or state laws apply to him” and who shows no remorse.

Bell was convicted in March by a jury in the Western District of Washington of 24 criminal charges, including five counts of presenting false claims, 15 counts of assisting in the filing of a false tax return; one count of criminal contempt and three counts of mail fraud.

The criminal case was not Bell’s first run-in with the IRS. In 2004, the government  filed a civil complaint alleging that he had engaged in promoting an abusive tax evasion scheme involving, among other things, the creation of sham trusts.

Less than three years after being ordered by a federal judge to stop promoting tax fraud schemes, Bell began to recruit participants in a new sovereign citizen fraud near his home in Yelm, Wash., and at seminars in Hawaii, California and Arizona.

The defendant’s motivation for this crime was two-pronged, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Diggs told the court. “First, greed played a central role,” the prosecutor said. “The defendant wanted something for nothing. Second, [his] motivation was ideological.”

“To this day, the defendant steadfastly refuses to acknowledge or accept the laws of this country, including but not limited to, its tax laws,” Diggs said. “His scheme embodied this ideology.”

“Bell promoted this scheme all the while knowing, beyond a shadow of a

doubt, that it was illegal,” Diggs said. The scheme, the prosecutor said, “was nonsensical in that it purported to allow taxpayers to receive refunds for all of their debts, and its promoter, of all people, could hardly have believed it to be legitimate.”

Evidence at his trial showed that Bell had received numerous IRS warnings and had downloaded IRS publications describing the scheme as illegal. He also received numerous “frivolous filing” warning letters from the IRS.

“The defendant took all of these notices as a sign to redouble his efforts to defraud the IRS,” Diggs said. Since his convictions,  Bell has filed various notices of default against federal prosecutors  in addition to “other incomprehensible and/or nonsensical filings.”

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>