A Rancho Santa Margarita man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas, where he also lives, for allegedly filing 22 false liens ranging from $25 million to $300 million against four federal judges and employees of the IRS, Secret Service, Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California.
Thanh Viet Jeremy Cao, 28, is also accused of filing false tax returns that claim fraudulent refunds totaling $20 billion and preparing at least five false tax returns for others that sought refunds totaling more than $1.1 million.
Cao, whose business was Phoenix Financial Management Group in Lake Forest, was charged in another case last year with trying to get tax refunds using a theory about a "secret treasury" that prosecutors called "complete fiction," the Orange County Register reports.
That theory holds the U.S. Treasury keeps millions in a secret treasury account for each taxpayer, and that the taxpayer can tap into it to pay debts and tax liabilities if certain documents are sent to the IRS and banks.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Several people besides Cao have tried out the theory in an attempt to get $3.3 trillion in fraudulent refunds, the Register reports.
If convicted of the latest charges, Cao could get 223 years in the federal pen and a $5.75 million fine.
The Department of Justice statement on the indictment follows:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
California Man Indicted in Las Vegas for Filing False Liens Against Federal Employees & Filing False Tax Forms
WASHINGTON - A Las Vegas federal grand jury has indicted Thanh Viet Jeremy Cao, a resident of Orange County, Calif., for filing false liens against federal employees and corruptly obstructing the administration of the federal tax laws, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. The court has not yet set a trial date.
According to the indictment, Cao filed 22 false liens in public records in Nevada against federal officials and employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California, the Secret Service and the IRS, as well as false liens against four federal judges. According to the indictment, the false liens ranged from $25 million to $300 million.
The indictment further alleges that Cao corruptly obstructed the administration of the federal tax laws, by, among other things, filing retaliatory false liens against IRS employees, filing and attempting to file with the IRS false Forms 1099-OID (Original Issue Discount) that claimed fictitious income tax withholdings, filing and attempting to file false tax returns that claim fraudulent refunds totaling approximately $20 billion, and preparing at least five false tax returns for third parties that claimed fraudulent income tax refunds totaling in excess of $1.1 million based upon fictitious income tax withholdings.
An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Cao faces a maximum of 223 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5.75 million.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the IRS-Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Tax Division Trial Attorneys Christopher S. Strauss and Joseph A. Rillotta.
More information about the Justice Department's Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at www.usdoj.gov/tax/.