Attorney Micaela Dutson and her husband hid more than $1 million of income. They didn’t file tax returns. They helped clients avoid paying almost $7 million in taxes. They told others that as “sovereign citizens” they didn’t have to pay income taxes.
And this week — you knew this was coming — the Oregon-based Dutsons were sentenced to 10 years in prison for their highly unlawyerly activities.
In a last-ditch bid for leniency at sentencing, Micaela Dutson tried to blame…the Internet! Yes!! In her own words, as reported by Helen Jung of The Oregonian:
“I have learned one thing for sure,” she said. “No matter what kind of information I hear or see on the Internet, I’m not going to act on it. That’s for sure, because I don’t ever want to be here again because this is the worst thing ever.”
Maybe the Internet also inspired them to file a $1 trillion lien (that is NOT a typo) against IRS employees, as law professor Paul L. Caron noted previously at his excellent TaxProf Blog.
That’s the thing about the Internet: you start out maybe inhaling a little free-verse poetry off the laptop in your parents’ basement, and the next thing you know you’re conspiring to defraud the IRS. Well, don’t say we didn’t warn you.