Timothy Garrison, who has a previous felony fraud conviction, was sentenced Wednesday for filing fraudulent tax returns. In November, Garrison pleaded guilty to two counts of "assisting with the filing of false tax returns," which the U.S. Attorney's office said he did for one couple in order to help them avoid paying over $88,000 in taxes from 2007-2008. He filed more than 50 returns with false information, which amounted to a loss of more than $2.5 million.
In addition to the 3.5 years, Garrison was sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay over $95,000 in restitution.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez told Garrison in the sentencing hearing: "You are free to believe anything. You are free to question authority. What you don't have is the ability to break the law and not suffer the consequences."
Garrison was a member of a local sovereign citizen group, who referred to themselves as "County Rangers" and "Assemblies on the Counties at Large." According to a press release by the Department of Justice, as part of his involvement in those groups, Garrison's "activities include making threats to 'arrest' law enforcement officers and filing bogus liens against the homes of law enforcement officers."
Garrison, his wife and two others in the group were also part of the common-law jury in Alaska that "acquitted" Schaeffer Cox after he was slapped with a misdemeanor gun charge. Cox was later arrested for allegedly stockpiling weapons in a plot to kill several state officials.
"No one is above the law," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan in a press release. "The defendant's scheme now creates a hardship for those who put their trust in Mr. Garrison - they have big tax bills to pay. His further abuse of the legal system with fraudulent liens and so-called 'arrest warrants,' is a dangerous mix for our law enforcement officers who are trying to keep our communities safe."
"When Americans go to a tax professional, they do not expect to receive faulty tax
guidance from someone with a personal agenda," said Kenneth J. Hines, the IRS Special Agent in charge of the Pacific Northwest. "Anyone who willfully breaks the tax laws, or uses others in an attempt to undermine the tax system, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
A number of other sovereign citizens in Washington, connected to Garrison and the "Assemblies," have recently been prosecuted. In December, one of them, David Russell Myrland, was sentenced to three years for threatening to "arrest" a local mayor, and telling her that resistance will be met "with all necessary force." Two others, a husband and wife, are scheduled for trial in April, and another is scheduled for an arraignment on Friday.