May 2008

Demanding Accountability

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IRS Capitulates
Moran’s Jeep Returned

By Edward Snook
Investigative Reporter

Montrose, Colorado – In our last edition the US~Observer published a front page article titled, “64 Felony Charges Beaten – Team Minns Levels IRS – DOJ.” This riveting expose gave in-depth coverage about the solid defeat inflicted on the IRS by Houston, Texas attorney Michael Minns, the architect of a defense for a Montrose, CA couple, James and Pamela Moran, standing trial on 64 counts of sundry tax crimes. With the acquittal on all counts this reporter issued a challenge to get the Morans’ Jeep back.

This challenge was answered on April 23, 2008, when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) quietly, and ever so discreetly, capitulated to the trial outcome and returned the Morans’ Jeep, stolen from them by the IRS in 2001. Incidentally, the same year the Jeep was illegally stolen, Minns’ book, “How to survive the IRS” was released by Barricade Press.

Most will only speculate regarding the return of the automobile but this reporter has researched some facts in this case that may shed some light on what did occur to cause the IRS to take the Jeep away from the Morans in the first place. The good news is this vehicle is once again housed under the roof of the Morans’ garage, only after they suffered terribly from the malicious prosecution that reigned down upon them for seven years. This terror included two jury trials in Federal Court and a successful appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ordeal began over seven years ago when the IRS, from orders on high, attacked an organization called Anderson Ark Associates (AAA) located in Costa Rica and the United States. The Morans along with many other completely innocent investors were deemed criminals and pursued by abusive IRS agents who were more intent on convictions than of conducting a legitimate investigation and then determining the truth.

In the Morans’ case the indictments were based on a series of misrepresentations initiated by biased Certified Public Accountant, Joseph H. Moschetti, located in Grand Junction, CO, who may have been fearful of losing a client to AAA. He told Criminal Investigative Department (CID) agent Michelle Hagemann (with whom it was disclosed during the Morans’ second trial that he had a personal relationship with) about the organization and she ultimately lead the raid against the Morans’ home and pursued the indictment against these two elderly people. The Morans’ home was assaulted by armed dragoons that broke down their door, confiscated records that could be used in the Morans’ defense and seized a new Jeep, leaving the Morans’ with a ten year old truck, which was considered to be worthless by the IRS.

During the first “now proven false conviction” trial Hagemann gave false testimony against the Morans, leading to a conviction on all 64 counts. Facing a long jail sentence the Morans appealed the convictions based on the premise the judge denied them the right to express their beliefs for participating in the alleged tax scam. It needs to be said, the truth only comes out when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice once in a blue moon – and only with the assistance of exceptional legal council, able to counter the deceptions and manipulations of the prosecution, combined with the assistance of unconstitutional court practices, withheld evidence and ridiculous, costly procedures.

However, in the second trial the Morans new counsel Michael Minns grilled Hagemann about her relationship with her now known source, Moschetti. Minns repeatedly asked Hagemann about being escorted to a AAA meeting in Grand Junction by Moschetti, and why she gave him her private home phone number, usually guarded by agents, resulting in her admission that he was her personal tax preparer. Hagemann did have the faint decency to admit that it would be inappropriate if in fact the CPA was getting a finders fee reward for turning the Morans over to the IRS. She added that if it came up she would refer it to someone else since the relationship she shared with Moschetti would have created a conflict of interest. The bottom line is this – Moschetti had Hagemanns’ home phone number, he was calling her a lot, he offered to let her bug his office phone and listen in on his clients and he went with her to a meeting where the Morans spoke, (assisting Hagemann in concealing her “undercover” status) with another client of his who he didn’t inform the identity of Hagemann to. The US~Observer’s strong opinion is that Moschetti is an undercover agent of the IRS and like a majority of agents, he and Hagemann openly practice out and out deception and literal entrapment. In short – they both “live a lie.” Those naïve customers that employ Moschetti as their CPA had better hope that he isn’t taping their conversations and turning those tapes over to the IRS.

There were other agents that participated in the conspiracy against the Morans. One such agent was CID agent James Dowling (undercover name – Jim Mitchell). His testimony in the first trial was well orchestrated by the prosecution and not challenged by the defense attorneys. Minns did not commit these errors in the second trial. During the questioning Dowling stated that he no longer worked directly for the IRS but that he worked for another entity and was contracted out to the government indirectly. Interestingly, when Minns asked him if that entity was in any way similar to Blackwater USA, a private intelligence and security firm, the court ruled the question out of order and struck it from the record. Minns is not convinced that the jury struck it from their minds or the pool of evidence. Dowling testified in the first trial that he did not accept the hospitality of AAA to stay at a Costa Rican Bed and Breakfast while attending an educational conference, but instead, fearing for his life due to the dangerous people involved with AAA, stayed at a hotel alone. In the second trial, after very tenacious and professional questioning by Minns, his story changed. Dowling, a married undercover IRS special agent finally admitted that he shared a room with his undercover co-agent and partner, not his wife, Diane Taggert (undercover name – Diane Target). I wonder which partner slept in the bathtub. According to the Morans, James being a Viet Nam veteran and former minister and his wife Pamela, the church organist, Sunday School teacher and cookie-baking homemaker, Taggert dressed provocatively in short hot pants, so much so that many of the conference’s more religious attendees were uncomfortable. This testimony gave the second jury a better understanding of who Dowling really is, contributing in part to the acquittal.

The Morans got a release of lien on their home March 28, 2008 (immediately after the verdicts were read) but the Jeep was still held hostage. To better understand why this was so, one must understand the IRS mechanisms for fear mongering. The IRS lost their “unconstitutional” seizure rights when the Morans walked out of the Seattle courtroom innocent of all 64 stacked felony charges. The IRS was also notified that Minns would file suit for the return of the Jeep yet they dragged their feet in returning the car. In addition, when the IRS attacked the Morans the stories made national headlines describing how the agency was breaking up the largest tax scam in history. In fact the conviction of the Morans is still on the IRS website. Since the acquittal, the story is non-existent in the media.

Minns had an interesting perspective on this phenomenon and to why the Jeep was not returned right away. “I have two guesses that are probably based on the truth. First, the story of the Morans’ acquittal was blacked out in the main stream media with the exception of the US~Observer and her sister news outlets that possess a huge reader base. Second, the IRS has an extraordinarily successful public relations department. They are always timely when broadcasting their indictments, arrests and convictions of those they target. However, when they lose a case, such as this rare defeat, silencing the media becomes a high priority for damage control. News of convictions always precedes April 15th but news of an acquittal is held up until after tax day when the public is not heeding IRS warnings. That was obviously the IRS’s intent in stringing the Morans along for four months.

Another point the IRS would like kept from the public is the cost of holding the Jeep for seven years. Over those years the Jeep was driven to Denver, then to the auction block, removal from the block when the Morans won the appeal, back to the auction block prior to the second trial last December when the odds of an acquittal were stacked against the Morans and finally back to storage upon the successful outcome of the last trial. Average rates for forced storage exceed $50 a day, times approximately 2,555 days, for a storage bill exceeding $125,000. Add to this total; interest, cost of starting the engine once a month and transportation, the cost to the taxpayers is probably over $240,000. Even if the government got a discount on these expenses it’s fair to say the cost far outweighed the value of the Jeep.

While in Denver for business after April 15th the Morans were asked to pick up the Jeep. They declined to take possession after inspecting the car and finding a dead battery, tires with cracking sidewalls, cracked wiper blades and a cracked windshield. Telling the IRS, “We want our property back but would you drive this car with these tires over the mountains in snowy conditions?” The attendant at the storage yard agreed with Morans’ assessment, and again when Jim Moran stated to IRS agents, “So don’t you think at the very least, since you aren’t going to apologize, that you should deliver the jeep back to our home in Montrose where it was confiscated?”

On Wednesday April 23, 2008, the Jeep was delivered back to a Montrose dealership with a new battery but still outfitted with cracked tires, a cracked windshield and deteriorated wipers. Also, absent when the Jeep was handed over was agent Michelle Hagemann, the pistol packing mama, who seized the Morans’ Jeep under the threat of armed force. The two sheepish agents that were present denied having anything to do with the original raid.

The IRS/CID agent remarked to the Morans’ attorney that he was puzzled. “How did they win all 64 counts? Just one count would let the IRS keep the jeep.” Minns gave Jim’s and Pam's response: "They were innocent." Hard for any government agent to fathom while working in a society where people are deemed guilty until proven innocent.

Now the Morans are trying to return to a normal life visiting family and friends, while thanking God, their renowned attorney Michael Minns, Minns’ daughter, attorney Rain Minns and their Seattle, WA attorneys Peter Mair and Jon Zulauf for their victory.

In retrospect, the public should be fully aware that many Americans who were involved with AAA are currently sitting in a prison cell with their lives completely ruined simply because of the lack of a competent attorney like Michael Minns.

And most Americans still believe they live in a “free” country!...

Editor’s Note: One very unique and important defense tactic used by Minns was to ask the various CID agents if they had taken classes given by the IRS on how to be effective witnesses and thus sway unsuspecting jurors. Minns knows that taking such a class is a requirement for all CID agents and he also knows that jurors want to hear the straight truth, not an acting job by dangerous and abusive agents of the IRS. It would behoove all attorneys who represent clients in tax cases to expose this fact in their criminal tax cases.

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