Convicts in $100 billion tax fraud skipped sentencing to play golf


http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_27420710/u-s-marshals-arrest-three-springs-convicts-100

One defendant was escorted out of court by marshals while yelling at the judge. Another boasted he shot a 49 in golf instead of attending his sentencing hearing the day before. And a third pleaded to be set free — again.

During the carnival-like atmosphere in U.S. District Court on Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Christine M. Arguello granted a request by convicted tax cheats George Brokaw and John Pawelski to postpone their sentencing hearings then threatened extreme measures against Mimi Vigil if she didn’t behave.

“If you are disruptive next time, I’m going to have you gagged,” Arguello said sternly as three U.S. Marshals handcuffed Vigil and escorted the grinning woman out of the courtroom.

The three Colorado Springs defendants were arrested Thursday after they failed to appear for sentencing Wednesday. They were escorted into court Thursday afternoon in handcuffs, all wearing street clothes.

We did go golfing. I shot a 49, which was pretty good for me,” Pawelski told the judge after she emphasized the seriousness of the felony charges he faced.

Arguello reset sentencing for all three tax fraud convicts for Feb. 10. The judge brought each offender into the courtroom separately. Brokaw and Pawelski each told the judge they are a “natural man.”

“I am a natural man, a legal person, a legal man; something I didn’t know before,” Pawelski said.

Brokaw and Pawelski explained that the reason they hadn’t attended their sentencing hearings the day before was that their unnamed legal adviser had filed documents on their behalf and predicted their tax-fraud convictions would be “abrogated.”

“We naively assumed the process would go more quickly than it did,” Pawelski said.

“I don’t know who is giving you this advice, but you might reconsider getting your advice from him in the future,” Arguello cautioned.

Brokaw was more contrite after Arguello explained that he would be held without bail until his sentencing. He apologized for causing “any consternation” when he didn’t appear for his sentencing Wednesday and gave his “solemn promise” to appear for the next sentencing if released.

“I did not flee or anything,” he said.

Arguello had ordered the arrest of each defendant after their Wednesday no-shows.

When Arguello invited Vigil to announce her presence, Vigil began a diatribe in which she repeatedly called the judge a “trustee” and herself a “beneficiary.” When the judge repeatedly ordered her to be silent, she spoke over the judge, raising her voice.

The three defendants claimed that documents they created seeking credit for more than $100 billion in tax payments were part of a political statement.

A jury convicted the trio on 18 tax fraud counts after deliberating a few hours Nov. 11 after a trial the defendants rarely attended.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: