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United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that Randy L. Garriss, 68, of Lamar, Colorado, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States and attempts to interfere with the administration of domestic revenue laws as a result of a federal jury trial in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, three years probation and up to a $200 special assessment for the Federal Fund for Victims of Crime.

Garriss was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 6, 2017.

The convictions stemmed from incidents that began in April 2004, when Theodore Nelson and his son, Steven Nelson, created more than 25 sham trusts to hide their income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), thus avoiding the assessment and payment of the tax. of federal income. . The funds were designed to make it difficult for the IRS to determine the Nelsons’ federal income tax. The Nelsons appointed John Sheridan and Loren Brown as trustees and successor trustees of the funds until Sheridan’s death in 2011. In this way, the Nelsons were able to put many layers between them and their assets and income. In 2011, Garriss joined the conspiracy as trustee of the Nelsons’ funds. Garriss’ actions as a trustee helped the Nelsons hide their income and assets from the IRS. Among other acts, Garriss also corruptly endeavored to obstruct and prevent the proper administration of domestic revenue laws by submitting anti-tax documents to the IRS on behalf of the Nelsons. Garriss signed under his own name and Brown’s as trustees for Steve Nelson and the Nelsons’ funds.

“One of the highest priorities of the IRS Criminal Investigation is combating abusive tax evasion schemes and the individuals who promote them,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation. “The guilty verdict of Randy Garriss for his agreement to conspire against and stop the IRS with Ted Nelson, Steve Nelson and Loren Brown shows how the IRS Criminal Investigation will work with the US Attorney to bring tax fraud to justice.”

This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigations. Assistant US Attorney Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case.

A presentation investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for September 12, 2022. The defendant was released on bail pending sentencing.

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