Colorado tax defier Lawrence Martin Birk was sentenced to an additional 78 months in prison for failing to surrender to serve his previously imposed tax evasion prison sentence and for unlawfully possessing firearms, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
“Let the message from today’s sentencing be loud and clear: the Tax Division will vigorously pursue and prosecute those who defraud the United States and flee punishment, wherever they may go,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman.
Birk, 66, was found guilty of tax evasion by a jury in July 2019. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Birk founded a sole proprietorship, Tarryall River Log Homes LLC, which built and sold log homes. Although the company was profitable, Birk did not voluntarily pay federal taxes on its income. When the IRS began collection efforts, Birk hired a tax firm to prepare eight years’ worth of delinquent tax returns, but concealed from the firm $400,000 of retirement distributions. Even after filing returns, Birk still did not pay what the returns acknowledged he owed in taxes. Instead, he sent the IRS threatening correspondence and sought to impede its efforts to seize money from his bank accounts. He did not make any voluntary tax payments for 2006 through 2018.
Based on this conduct, on Oct. 30, 2019, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn sentenced Birk to 60 months in prison, to serve three years of supervised release, and to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $1,858,826.
Birk was ordered to report to prison to begin serving his sentence in November 2019. Instead, he fled Colorado with a fully automatic assault rifle, two pistols, over a dozen loaded magazines, hundreds of additional rounds of ammunition, ballistic helmets, ballistic vests, and gas masks. Birk remained a fugitive until he was caught and arrested in Florida in January 2020 and has been in custody ever since.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Christopher Magnani, who prosecuted the case. Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.
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