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Tax rebel hit with decision

A federal judge has permanently barred convicted tax rebel and author Irwin Schiff and a co-defendant from preparing tax returns and marketing products advising people that no law requires Americans to pay federal income taxes.

Federal officials said the permanent injunction by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Lloyd George in Las Vegas ensures that Schiff and his former business partner, Cynthia Neun, "cannot promote tax fraud schemes from within prison or when they are released."

"The Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department have strong civil and criminal enforcement tools available to stop tax defiers who promote fraudulent schemes," Justice Department lawyer Nathan Hochman said in a statement following George’s Oct. 14 order. The filing made permanent a restraining order and preliminary injunction first imposed in 2003.

Schiff, 80, and Neun, 55, are serving federal prison sentences after a jury in Las Vegas found them guilty in October 2005 of conspiracy, tax evasion and tax fraud.

Schiff was sentenced to 12 years and seven months by U.S. District Court Judge Kent Dawson, who branded Schiff and his Las Vegas company, Freedom Books, "a flimflam operation" that encouraged others to engage in a fraudulent tax evasion scheme.

Dawson last month added another 11 months to Schiff’s prison term for 15 contempt citations Schiff received while serving as his own lawyer during trial. Schiff has also been ordered to pay more than $4.2 million in restitution.

Attorney Michael Cristalli, who represented Neun, said he was not involved in the government’s move to seek a permanent injunction and could not comment.

Neun is due to be released in 2010 after a five-year and eight-month sentence.

Schiff wrote several books, including "The Federal Mafia: How the Government Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully Collects Income Taxes."

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