Strange Behavior Even by Tax Protestor / Defier Standards - Mens Rea for the Crime and Competence for Trial

In United States v. McQuarry, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9529 (D MN 2014), here, the defendant "was indicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286 [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers] and for making false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims upon or against the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287 [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers]." (I quote these criminal statutes below.) The defendant fell in the category that the court described as "tax protestor," but "even by tax-protester standards, McQuarry's arguments have been strange and seem to have become stranger." The Court gives examples of strange behavior in the pretrial skirmishing. Focusing on the strange behavior even by tax protestor standards, the Court says [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers]:

Moreover, unlike many tax protesters, McQuarry appears to actually believe the frivolous arguments that she is making — not only to believe them, but to have become quite emotionally invested in them. In the Court's experience, some tax protesters do not appear to believe many of the arguments that they make, but appear instead to be trying to find some kind of a "loophole" to escape being held responsible for not paying taxes. Other tax protesters appear to be quite sincere, but they can at least carry on a rational conversation about their beliefs. They make arguments in a respectful and understandable way and, when their arguments are rejected, they accept the fact that the court has ruled and move on. But McQuarry appears to be unusually devoted to her views.

For example, at a hearing on the morning of January 21, 2014, McQuarry displayed great emotion — indeed, started weeping — in frustration over the prosecutor's unwillingness to accept her offers to "settle" this case. These "settlement" offers appear to consist of McQuarry purporting to give the government permission to take money that does not really exist out of a trust account that does not really exist. Rather than take the advice of a respected and experienced defense attorney, McQuarry seems to troll the fever swamps of the Internet and to regard what she reads there not merely as presenting possible loopholes that she can exploit, but as presenting the Gospel truth — even in the absence of any evidence that these arguments have ever been accepted by a court or resulted in the acquittal of a defendant.

View Jack Townsend's opinion in its entirety on the Federal Tax Crimes blog site.

For additional insight, explore Tax Crimes, authored by Jack Townsend and available at the LexisNexis® Store

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