Thursday, October 28, 2004

Tax plan is a fraud, government says

By Dan Horn
Enquirer staff writer

Government lawyers accused a Batavia man Wednesday of selling a fraudulent tax plan that claims Americans don't have to pay income taxes.

The lawyers asked a federal judge to order Richard W. Stand-ring to stop promoting and marketing his tax service because it misleads taxpayers and defrauds the government of thousands of dollars in tax revenue.

According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Standring does business as VIP Sales and claims he can "decode" Internal Revenue Service records to help people avoid paying taxes. He is not charged with a crime, but U.S. Justice Department lawyers want a judge to bar him from selling his tax plan.

Standring is among about a dozen Greater Cincinnati residents the government has targeted in recent years for selling allegedly fraudulent tax plans.

Although the Justice Department lawyers said they do not know how many people paid Standring for his plan, they estimate that just one person who followed his advice ended up owing the IRS nearly $600,000.

Standring could not be reached for comment. But one of the Web sites listed in the government's complaint offers tax seminars and resource materials related to income taxes.

The site urges readers to "learn about the IRS and its fraud against the American people."

The government's complaint claims Standring sells his plan via the Internet or through seminars that he conducts nationwide.

"There is no magic way to eliminate tax obligations," Eileen J. O'Connor, an assistant attorney general, said in a statement. "People who pay good money for a bad tax-fraud scheme can expect to pay not only back taxes, but interest and stiff penalties."


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