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Lawrenceville Couple Sentenced in 10-Year Tax Scheme

Stephen Paul Thomas and Patricia Denese Anderson claimed not to be citizens of the United States to avoid paying taxes and later falsely filed for $420,000 in refunds. They owned two businesses in Duluth.

For 10 years, Stephen Paul Thomas, 46, and Patricia Denese Anderson, 51, of Lawrenceville, waged a tax defiance scheme against the IRS. On Thursday (Jan. 3), the two were sentenced to serve time in federal prison. 

Thomas was sentenced to serve five years while Anderson was sentenced to four years and three months. Both were fined $10,000 and will have three years of supervised release after serving their sentences.

The two were convicted in October following a six-day trial of conspiring to defraud the United States and making false claims upon the Internal Revenue Service.

Thomas and Anderson owned and operated an outdoor yard furnishing store and general contracting business in Duluth. The couple stopped filing federal income tax returns in the 1990s. According to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, Thomas and Anderson and an agency they hired sent a number of "obstructive, frivolous and harassing documents to IRS and Department of Treasury officials instead of paying their taxes."

They hired American Rights Litigators (ARL), an organization that sold and promoted tax defiance schemes, to send the obstructive and harassing materials to the IRS on their behalf. The IRS repeatedly sent notices to Thomas and Anderson notifying them that they had to pay their federal income taxes and that they had to comply with the tax laws.                     

The couple also setup phony business bank accounts using fake tax identification numbers to hide funds.

In 2009, the husband and wife submitted two fraudulent income tax returns claiming omore than $420,000 in tax refunds from the IRS.

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