Justice Dept. Seeks Injunction Against Promoter of Fraudulent Tax Scheme

The Justice Department recently announced that it has sued a Cincinnati-area man in federal court, seeking to halt an allegedly fraudulent tax scheme. The lawsuit alleges that Richard W. Standring, of Batavia, Ohio, gives seminars at which he falsely claims that he can help customers “decode” IRS records to help them establish that they need not file federal income tax returns or pay federal income taxes.

Standring, who also does business as “VIP Sales” and operates several websites to promote his schemes, allegedly calls his scheme a “Document Decoding Service.”

According to the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati, one of the false statements that Standring allegedly makes to customers is a fraudulent claim that they need pay federal income taxes only if they are involved in an “excise-taxable activity” or if they are “federal corporate officers.” The complaint seeks an injunction prohibiting Standring from selling or promoting fraudulent plans or arrangements, and also seeks an order directing Standring to furnish to the government the names, mailing and e-mail addresses, phone numbers and Social Security or employer identification numbers of his customers.

The complaint alleges that one person who followed Standring’s advice ended up owing the IRS nearly $600,000.

“There is no magic way to eliminate tax obligations,” said Eileen J. O’Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “People who pay good money for a bad tax fraud scheme can expect to pay not only back taxes, but interest and stiff penalties, and, in appropriate cases, can face criminal prosecution.”

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