Ross convicted of tax evasion

Aug. 10, 2013 @ 11:33 PM

A former Sevier County resident is facing as much as 25 years in a federal prison after his conviction this week on five counts of tax evasion.

Jimmie Duane Ross had been living in Lehi, Utah, but lived in Sevierville in 1999 and 2004 until 2007, the years he was charged with failing to pay his full income tax. He is being held by federal authorities and faces sentencing Jan. 14. He could get up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count.

In 1999, prosecutors said, Ross won $840,000 in an arbitration settlement with a former employer but failed to pay income tax on that amount. Instead, they said, he filed a false mortgage on his home and a false lien on his vehicle, moved funds to an offshore account and used cash for many transactions in an attempt to cover his trail.

From 2004 until 2007, they said, he earned commission income for referring clients to a company he said was based in the Carribean and evaded paying taxes by using an offshore haven and other means.

Ross had acted as his own attorney and filed a number of motions claiming the federal government had no jurisdiction to tax him; his arguments appeared to follow those of the sovereign citizens movement.

The trial lasted about a day and half; the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts on the second afternoon.

Ross was evicted from his Sevierville home after failing to pay his mortgage.

During those proceedings, his wife, Pamela Ross died in their house from a gunshot wound. Authorities claimed she died of a self-inflicted wound, but Ross and the couple’s children said they believe law enforcement authorities were responsible

Sevierville police and sevier County sheriff’s deputies had been stationed outside the house when it appeared a judge was set to foreclose on the home. Sheriff Ron Seals has said he stationed officers on the street outside Ross’s home because they expected the proceedings to end that day in foreclosure on the home and Jimmie Ross had threatened officials involved in the proceedings before.

The foreclosure was delayed during that day’s proceedings, but the officers said Pamela Ross had come outside to talk to them and they’d told her why they were there. The officers said they heard a gunshot from the house shortly after she went back inside.

The Department of Justice eventually started a civil rights investigation at the request of Ross’s daughters; DOJ officials say that case is still open and they can’t comment on it.

The Mountain Press has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the case, but federal officials have said they won’t release the documents until the investigation is closed.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com