In Uncategorized on 03/02/2015 at 15:15

But Judge Cohen Makes the Tackle

That’s Judge Mary Ann Cohen, playing the position of Antrel R. Rolle, himself a safety for the Arizona Cardinals, in Docket No. 13779-10, filed 3/2/15. Antrel didn’t play it safe with his income taxes, but Judge Cohen makes the tackle.

Antrel misplaced his trust in Hiram Martin, Esq. Hiram had filed bogus returns in Antrel’s name, provided bogus addresses for Antrel (so all communications would go to Hiram), grabbed refunds, made “…various motions attempting to seal the record, preclude discovery, and dismiss the case.” Order, at p. 1.

These weird goings-on caused Judge Cohen to order copies of her orders denying Hiram’s antics to be sent to Antrel as well, but the phony addresses supplied by Hiram made sure Antrel never got them.

Among the orders Judge Cohen issued was one that sustained seven-figure deficiencies (plus interest and penalties) against Antrel. Hiram stipulated to entry of decision, and the whole caboodle descended upon Antrel.

Bill Barrett over at Forbes had a take on the case back on 1/26/10, when Hiram first petitioned the deficiencies. I expect Peter Reilly, CPA, a Forbes blogger, will pick up the sequel.

Here it is: “A Stipulation of Facts was filed, and petitioner, Armelia Rolle, William Charles Bennett, and Cubby Williams testified. The testimony of those witnesses was credible and uncontradicted and is consistent with the stipulated documents. The testimony and documents are consistent with petitioner’s contention that his former counsel, Hiram Martin, filed false tax returns in petitioner’s name without petitioner’s knowledge, converted refunds claimed on those returns, and concealed events occurring subsequent to the filing of those returns. Specifically, it appears that Martin concealed and misrepresented the status of his communications with the Internal Revenue Service, forged petitioner’s signature on the petition that commenced this case, and took steps intended to and having the effect of concealing the existence of this case from petitioner. That concealment was accomplished, in part, by misrepresentations to Armelia Rolle, who was handling tax matters for petitioner, and by using various addresses of Martin as an address for petitioner, so that communications concerning events involving petitioner’s tax liability would be sent to Martin and not sent to petitioner or to Armelia Rolle.” Order, at pp. 1-2.

So Judge Cohen is convinced that Hiram is a thoroughly bad dude, but can she vacate her decision belatedly?

“Fraud on the court sufficient to vacate a decision otherwise final has been described in various ways, and no single definition covers all situations. Relief on that ground, however, has been given in cases involving forged documents and prevention of a party’s presentation of a defense. Although the frauds apparently committed here were first on the Commissioner and on petitioner, fraud was carried into this Court when the petition was filed, Martin stipulated to deficiencies that could have been contested, and the decision was entered based on that stipulation.

“In considering whether a decision should be vacated, the Court also considers whether a different decision would have resulted in the absence of fraud, i.e., whether the fraud was material. The correct determination of petitioner’s liability cannot be made at this time because there was never a trial, and respondent has declined to work with petitioner because of the existence of the decision in this case. Petitioner has presented authority that suggests that a correct determination would include whether petitioner is entitled to credit for the wrongful refunds received by Martin. In any event, and at a minimum, if the Court had been aware of the facts now in the record at the time the stipulation for decision was received, the Court would have inquired into the obvious conflict of interest between Martin and petitioner and would have taken additional steps to be sure that petitioner was aware of the status of this case. See Rules 24(g) and 201, Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure. Thus there was fraud on the Court, and the fraud affected the decision entered.” Order, at pp. 2-3. (Citations omitted).

So the decision is vacated, IRS and Antrel now should work together to figure out Antrel’s taxes and the consequences of Hiram’s defalcations, and file status reports.

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