The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

October 12, 2012

Ex-Sharon man faces trial over refusal to pay taxes

SHARON — A former Sharon man who claims income tax laws don’t apply to him will go to trial on federal tax evasion charges.

Joseph E. Gump, Huron, Ohio, whom courts also list has an address of 625 Carley Ave., was scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday but changed his mind, IRS Special Agent Andrew T. Hromoko Jr. said Thursday.

Gump’s trial has been set for Dec. 3 in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Hromoko said.

Gump is accused of claiming he had no taxable income on tax returns for the years 2003 to 2006 when the IRS says he earned $250,344 and should have paid $49,370 in taxes for that period.

In court filings, Gump argued that federal prosecutors do not have jurisdiction to prosecute him and that the IRS does not have the authority to collect income taxes from him.

Gump claimed tax laws apply only to federal lands, people live and work on those lands and income received from selling alcohol, tobacco, firearms and pharmaceuticals and betting and lotteries; he said none of the criteria apply to him.

Free on bond, Gump is representing himself after dismissing his attorney in June.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence F. McVerry denied Gump’s motion to exclude evidence the government intended to introduce at trial.

Gump sought for the court to ban the use of the term “tax protester,” any evidence acquired after Oct. 16, 2006, and  all statements made by Gump March 11, 2011 via telephone to Special Agent David F. Insana.

Gump claimed the phrase “illegal tax protester” was stigmatizing and banned by Congress, and that he’d invoked his right to counsel Sept. 20, 2010 and agents should not have contacted him after that.

According to court documents, Insana returned a phone call from Gump and after Gump left a message saying he was willing to pay a $30,000 “tribute” to the IRS by putting the amount on a credit card.

Insana told Gump that even if he paid the taxes, the matter was now in criminal court and he should show up March 15, 2011, for a hearing.

The court found that the phone message was admissible because Gump had not yet been arraigned on any charges and the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to have counsel present at criminal proceedings.

The judge also said that the 2010 references Gump made to his attorney did not bar Insana from returning a phone call five months later. In fact, the man Gump said was his “counsel of choice” that day is not an attorney.

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