Several weeks ago there was a knock at the front door just after dinnertime. We weren’t expecting anyone and I cautiously opened the door to see what appeared to be a homeless man standing on our porch. Our doorbell camera caught his image.
I asked him what he wanted and he replied in perfect English with, “are you the author that writes about the IRS.” I nodded in affirmation and then he said, “I need to talk to you.” I asked him, “why?” He said, “I have a story to tell that you won’t believe that has left me in this condition, homeless and on the street, at the hands of the IRS.”
What came out of his mouth belied his appearance. He was well spoken, articulate and his voice had an element of authority in it. He was obviously well educated but he seemed over dressed for the weather. I didn’t know whether the way he looked was a purposeful disguise, or a result of unfortunate circumstances. I suspected the former.
I first asked him how he found me and he replied, “it wasn’t easy.” I then asked him why did he want to talk to me personally. He spoke slowly and in measured terms and said, “after reading several of your articles it appears you are not afraid of the IRS and I need someone who doesn’t fear them to tell my story.” He followed with “I can pay you” and pulled out a thick wad of $100 bills and offered one of them to me.
I told him I didn’t need his money. There was nothing in his demeanor that seemed threatening and suggested he come in.
I then asked him his name. He said with confidence and pride, “My name is Viktor Maelvikoff.” To my wife, who had just entered from the kitchen, “Honey, meet Viktor Maelvikoff.” She shook his hand with a look of trepidation in her eyes as if to say, “who is this strange looking man in my home?”
I motioned for him to come into the kitchen and sit at the table and asked if he was hungry or thirsty. He said that it had been awhile since he had eaten and could use a bite. My wife opened the refrigerator, pulled out some leftovers and put them on the stove to heat. She then delivered water and milk to the table.
As he poured a glass of water I asked him, “would you like something stronger?” He said, “would you happen to have some Vodka? I haven’t had a drink of Vodka in three years.” I said of course and proceeded to pour him a glass. He took the first sip as if it was his final wish come true. The thanks for this momentary pleasure were evident in his eyes.
After he had savored a few sips from the Vodka, I asked him why his story was so important to him that he would seek out an author? It was at this point, as if I had triggered something in him, that his story began to gush out of him like an artesian well.
“I immigrated to America with my parents over 35 years ago,” he started. “I was 13 at time. We settled in a small town in Texas where my father set up a shop to work his trade. He was an expert machinist and made small custom parts for individuals and car and airplane restorers.”
“I learned a great deal from my father and when I reached my late twenties, with my father’s help, I started my own small company making machine parts and quickly landed a job for a large airplane manufacturer. After that we obtained several fairly lucrative contracts for other manufacturers. That very same year I became an American citizen.”
“My business grew rapidly until our annual revenues were in the 10’s of millions of dollars and we had over 100 employees in two plants.”
“Three years ago, I found that my accountant was embezzling small amounts of money from our accounts and I fired him. To retaliate, he called the IRS and told them my company was laundering money in several offshore accounts. Of course it was a bold faced lie, but within a couple of months we received an audit notice from the IRS, giving us just two weeks to prepare for the audit.“
My wife laid a plate of food in front of Viktor and he began eating while he talked.
“Totally confident that we had not done anything wrong, we began to accumulate all of the documents that were requested in the audit notice.”
“On the day of the audit, we opened up the conference room and put all of the documents on the conference table in open compliance with the listed audit requirements. Two IRS auditors arrived on the scene about 10:30 that morning and began to sift through the information we provided. The auditors were there every weekday for three weeks, making the conference room unusable for corporate business. Upon completion of the audit, they got up and one of them said, you will be hearing from us shortly.”
“A month went by without hearing a thing from the IRS. I began to get concerned. When another month went by my concern grew to restless anxiety. What were they waiting for?”
“Finally, after two and one half months, a certified letter came in the mail from the IRS with a notice stating that the results of the audit indicated that my company owed the IRS $293,335, including penalties and interest. They said that if I didn’t agree with the amount I had 90 days in which to appeal to the Tax Court.”
“I was aghast at the sum. The company had some cash resources but it wouldn’t come to anywhere near what they said I owed unless we started liquidating assets. I had no choice but to dispute the claim, not only the amount but the reasoning behind why they said we owed so much. I thought I could handle the issue by myself instead of filing a claim with the Tax Court.”
“So I sent a Certified-Registered letter to the agent’s name on the notice, vehemently disputing the amount, along with an FOIA request for all of the records used in making their determination.”
“About 30 days later I get a letter from them that they had received my certified letter and needed another 45 days in which to respond.” (This is a common delay tactic of the IRS to drive up interest and penalty charges.)
“Then I got a letter after three more months stating that my FOIA Request would have to be sent to the ‘Disclosure Scanning Operations’ with an Atlanta, GA address. So I re-copied my FOIA Request and mailed it to the required address. As it turned out, I never got a response to my FOIA Request.”
“But then it got really strange. I started receiving 45-day letters from IRS offices in Ogden, Cincinnati, Holtsville, Memphis, Kansas City, Fresno and Philadelphia. I had never communicated with any of these offices.”
“Roughly six months after the audit, I received a Notice of Lien stating that if the company didn’t pay up, the government would seize bank accounts and other assets because my time to file an appeal with the Tax Court had run out. Additional penalties and interest had been added to the original amount. However, there was nothing attached to the Notice of Lien indicating that they had acknowledged my dispute of the charges, or recognized my FOIA request. I was devastated. The IRS could literally put us out of business. I had to act immediately, but I didn’t know what I should do next. It is what I did next that started a parade of events over which I had no control.”
I could tell he was getting tired and agitated and suggested that he stay overnight, if he didn’t have a place to go, and to continue his story the next day. He said that he was exhausted from traveling and could use a shower. I pointed him to our spare bedroom and guest bathroom. He settled down for the night and it wasn’t until the next morning that we learned the full scope of his story and what he and his company had to endure at the hands of the IRS and how he came to be homeless with a huge wad of $100 bills in his pocket.
I went to bed that night thinking that “what he did next” somehow led to his becoming homeless and my mind imagined all sorts of possible scenarios, all of which turned out to be wrong. His story would continue the next morning, as he descended the stairs from the upstairs bedroom, looking much fresher than he did the night before, even though still sporting a full beard and wearing his somewhat disheveled clothing. Perhaps it was the positive look in his eyes that made me think he was somewhat rested.
“Good morning Viktor,“ I said, as he came down the stairs, “hopefully you slept well.”
Viktor replied with, “I haven’t had that good of a night’s sleep in several months, having spent most of my nights in homeless shelters from Texas to Washington State, on my way to Canada. I’ve been traveling from shelter to shelter for two and a half years in order to avoid the IRS. Believe me, that is no existence for a once-moderate wealthy and educated man who isn’t plagued with mental health or drug issues. I was forced to feign such conditions in order not to be attacked by the occupants of the shelter. I also laid pretty low when the occasional police officer would show up.”
I asked Viktor if he would like some breakfast and he nodded his head in agreement. Once again, I invited Viktor to sit at our kitchen table.
My wife was already in the kitchen fixing some eggs, bacon and toast and put a large plate on the table for the three of us. Viktor didn’t seem ready to talk yet and set about finishing his breakfast and drinking his coffee. He almost seemed at home in what should have been a strange setting for him, given what he has had to endure over the last several months living as he was.
Finally, he put down his coffee cup and began to speak as if eager to finish his story.
He started with, “Let’s see, where did I leave off last night? Oh that’s rights, I think I said that what I did next led to my being in this condition.”
“As it turns out, it wasn’t only what I did next that started an IRS avalanche I couldn’t stop, it was what the IRS did.”
“Out of fear of exhausting the company of its cash resources and ending up broke, I started funneling cash out of the company. Fearing what the IRS might do to us and in anticipation of the possible outcome, I mailed some of that cash to people I knew around the West, providing a lame excuse on why I was doing it. What is in my pocket right now came from one of those stashes. None of the people I mailed cash to, knew each other.”
“What I did was bad enough, but what the IRS did to me and my company was far worse.”
“Since I had no knowledge of how the IRS came up with the tax due amount, as there still was no answer to my FOIA request, I had no tools to fight back. How could I argue against what I didn’t know?”
“I was totally unaware of what was going on behind the scenes at the IRS and only partially became aware of it when the company received a court summons from the IRS with documents charging us with money laundering and other crimes. The charging documents were short on details. I suddenly realized as the responsible corporate officer, that I could go to jail and I hadn’t the slightest idea of what legal lines I had crossed to end up on what could very well be the working end of an IRS witch hunt ….. or not.”
“I called our corporate attorney about the IRS summons and he said he handles only civil matters and recommended I contact an attorney that practices criminal law. Criminal law!!! You mean now I’m a criminal? This isn’t happening, but it was.”
“As I was dialing the ‘phone to reach an attorney that practices criminal law, the IRS had drained our corporate bank account and filed liens on other corporate assets. My company was now in grave peril and we could not meet contractual obligations that could trigger significant penalty clauses. But worse than that, we could not meet payroll and payroll taxes, or pay suppliers. Material deliveries would soon be cut off. Before my eyes I was literally watching the overnight disintegration of my company that I had put my heart and soul into for well over a decade, with the prospects of being incarcerated for a crime I was alleged to have committed, about which I knew nothing.”
“I finally retained an attorney to present my case in court but it would be several months before the case would go to trial. I had to sell my car to obtain the $10,000 retainer for the attorney. Fortunately, my car missed the probing eyes of the IRS. The attorney told me to sit back and wait until he had a chance to research the case and request and then review documents from the IRS.”
“As instructed I waited while my company was in a death spiral and Chapter 7 bankruptcy loomed on the near horizon. Bills mounted dramatically and our manufacturing contracts were being canceled one by one. My credit was shot and the only thing that sustained me was the cash I had salted away.”
“In the interim there were some pre-trial motions, a motion to delay and a request for a jury trial filed by my attorney, but the motion to delay and jury trial motion were denied by the judge. It seems that when you are dealing with the IRS, you are not entitled to a jury trial. The trial was set for 60 days after the pre-trial proceedings.”
“On the day of the trial, I got an education in how the IRS vigorously prosecutes its cases against taxpayers. As the Department of Justice prosecutor read the charges and presented evidence from the audit, I began to realize that I was never going to come out of that courtroom unscathed. The serious charges against me personally and the company, could easily lead to a 10-year prison sentence. Part of the problem arose because I had sent some significant wire transfers to a Russian bank on behalf of my aging grandparents who were still alive. The IRS determined those deposits to be illegal international transfers, raising the charge of money laundering. The money transfers raised red flags at the IRS and they proceeded to ‘invent’ irregularities in the audit. Although my attorney attempted to refute all the charges with powerful evidence, the judge denied the admission of most of that evidence. I was going down and there was nothing I could do to stop it.”
“Determined not to got to jail, I bolted. In the early morning hours of the following day, I boarded a bus for a small town in New Mexico and headed straight for the nearest homeless encampment. I burrowed into the homeless shelter with the sole purpose of melting into the background. I had enough cash to last me for awhile until I could reach my next stash.”
“I let my beard grow and allowed my clothes to become warned and tattered. I moved from homeless shelter to homeless shelter as I headed west and north. Occasionally, I would drop into a local library and search the net for possible fugitive notices about me. That is where I ran into your articles about the IRS and I was determined to reach you to tell my story in the hopes you would publish it for all Americans to see what the IRS has become and how they destroy law abiding citizens. I have been on the run for two and a half years now with my goal to pass undetected into Canada and hopefully freedom. I’m only a little over 100 miles away from reaching that goal.”
“I sincerely want to thank you for listening to my story and welcoming me into your home. Once again, I would be more than happy to pay for your hospitality but my guess is you wouldn’t accept it. Nevertheless, I cannot not stay in one place for any length of time for fear of being apprehended. For that reason I must move on.”
Viktor suddenly got up from the table and headed for the door like a man on a mission. My wife and I followed him. We asked if we could drive him somewhere but he said no. He opened the door and moved quickly onto the porch and down the walkway, but turned around once to wave at us. We waved back and wished him well. He walked down the street and turned at the corner, still under the cover of his homeless man disguise. We can only hope he passed quietly into Canada where he could find peace and freedom from a rogue, out-of-control, grossly negligent, inept and corrupt American federal bureaucracy whose collection policies seem to be patterned after the Nazi Gestapo.
It is our firm wish that the reader will begin to understand why we have taken a very dangerous stand against the IRS and why we are calling for it to be abolished. This is not just because of Viktor’s story. There are thousands of Viktor stories all over America, which no one ever hears, like this story we received in response to Part 1 of Victor’s stor;.
“I read your account with interest as my adventure with the IRS has some similarities. I didn’t lose my business, home, or entire fortune, but ended up with tax liens and a six-figure tax bill (including a $10k penalty for frivolously wasting the court’s time) after losing in tax court, with the judge colluding with the IRS commissioner’s attorney to conceal the identity of a material witness in order to prevent me from questioning him/her about the facts of the case. However, at that point the writing on the wall was clear: I was dealing with a criminal syndicate, not a system based on law, and so would never be allowed to win. Although I’ve paid off the entire amount and the liens have been removed, I’m still trying to clear my credit rating.”
But it is also because of our fight with the IRS and what we have come to learn about this agency that has no master.
It is for these reasons we have taken on the IRS. For those readers who still care about America and where it is headed and aren’t paralyzed by fear, we ask that you explore our efforts at our “SAVE THE USA” website. Learn about our six ways with which we intend to challenge the IRS. One of those ways is a powerful petition which is available on the website. One of the other ways is providing effective tools on how to fight the IRS and win, based on actual experiences.
America is free falling into the abyss of socialism, totalitarianism and one-world government, unless we act by the millions, united against government tyranny and globalism. If people don’t support our efforts in significant numbers, we could very easily become another ….. Viktor Maelvikoff! We wonder if anyone would care?
© Copyright Sunday, May 28 and June 4, 2017
~ The Author ~
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property issues and author of his weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America“, is the President of the The National Association of Rural Landowners (NARLO), a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State and dedicated to restoring, maintaining and defending property rights for urban and rural landowners. Mr. Ewart can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Ewart has been a continuing contributor to the Federal Observer since May of 2007.