Belleville ‘sovereign citizen’ gets prison for false tax claims

Destry Marcotte, 48, of Belleville, was sentenced to a total of 78 months in federal prison, a fine of $25,000, and three years of supervised release, the United States attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.

“Being dissatisfied with the government does not give a person the right to try to steal from it or to try to disrupt its functions. The sad fact is that if Marcotte had tried half as hard to be an agent of productive change as he did to be an enemy of the system, he might well be a free and prosperous man rather than another prisoner number.” Wigginton said.

Marcotte had been convicted in 2013, following a jury trial, of making false claims against the United States by submitting false claims for tax refunds. Marcotte filed tax returns, as part of the sovereign citizen movement, claiming that the IRS owed him more than $600,000. The court determined the intended loss of his conduct to the United States government was nearly a million dollars. He was released on bond with electronic monitoring, but then fled prior to sentencing. Evidence showed that he filed numerous obstructive pleadings with the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal District Court and the Clerk of St. Clair County.

His filings included a local lawsuit attempting to sue the president of the United States. Marcotte’s extensive obstructive pleadings were noted to be calculated to be extremely wasteful of precious governmental resources as well as being a “monumental pain in the neck.” His obstructive pleadings included false lien releases. He attempted to release a federal tax lien by falsely stating he was a government official.

A special agent with IRS/Criminal Investigations testified at sentencing of a false lien release on a Ford F-350 truck, which caused a financial institution to write-off of the principle amount of more than $25,000. The fraudulently obtained truck was then used to acquire another truck without cost. The court noted that even
illegally obtained funds must be reported as income.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Criminal Investigations Division of the IRS. The prosecution of the case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Smith.

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