Texas injection molding company executive Richard Simkanin, who had argued publicly and vociferously that the U.S. Constitution does not require paying income taxes, pleaded guilty Sept. 30 to tax evasion.
Simkanin, 59, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, Texas, to not withholding or paying taxes in 2000 on the wages of employees at his business, Arrow Custom Plastics in Bedford. He faces up to three years in prison, plus restitution and a $250,000 fine.
The plea marked an about-face for Simkanin, who has not shied away from making his case against income taxes.
Simkanin was one of five business owners, for example, who took out a full-page ad proclaiming his cause in USA Today on March 2, 2001.
He spoke at forums on the topic and he told Plastics News in late 2000 that ``the onus is on them [the Internal Revenue Service] to prove we are liable.''
Simkanin's Dallas-based lawyer, Arch McColl, could not be reached for comment. He told the New York Times that his client accepted the plea agreement because he was concerned about his wife's poor health.
The IRS said Simkanin has been held in jail since a June 27 appearance in federal court because he told Judge John McBryde that he did not accept the authority of the federal courts.
According to a report in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Simkanin also told an undercover government informant during a 2002 meeting of one of the tax groups that ``we need to knock off a couple of federal judges. That will get their attention.''
He had been charged in June with 27 counts of tax evasion but pled guilty to one count.
An unidentified person who answered the phone at Arrow Custom Plastics said the company was not commenting. The company's Web site said it operates from a 23,000-square-foot facility, with injection molding, a clean room and a mold-making shop.
Simkanin's case has received prominent attention from an anti-income tax group, the We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education, in Queensbury, N.Y., which argued that Simkanin was denied due process. Foundation officials could not be reached.
IRS officials said in a statement that Simkanin ``made the conscious decision to willfully disobey tax laws with the hope that nothing would happen to him.'' The IRS said Simkanin's accounting firm had advised him that he had to pay taxes.
The tax groups argue that the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which created the income tax, was not properly ratified, and that the laws of Congress apply only to residents of U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
But IRS officials said the courts have repeatedly rejected such arguments as frivolous, and said they will prosecute those who do not pay income taxes.
As part of the plea, Simkanin is required to post his plea agreement on his Web site. He will be sentenced Jan. 2.