An Anoka woman will spend two years in prison and has been ordered to pay nearly $200,000 for dodging income taxes for years after claiming that she and her husband were not U.S. citizens but residents of the "Kingdom of Heaven."
Tami Mae May, 56, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Minneapolis for not filing income-tax returns or paying income tax from 1998 until 2005, despite receiving payments from customers of the family business, D & T & Son Excavating in Coon Rapids, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
May allegedly made numerous "obstructive and fraudulent filings with the IRS including filing frivolous 'zero income tax returns' " and claiming that she and her husband were not U.S. citizens but permanent residents of the "Kingdom of Heaven," authorities said.
May's defense argued that she should not be sent to prison, saying she intends to pay the government $340,000 in taxes and penalties. Her attorneys also pointed out that she fell under the spell of noted tax protester Winston Shrout that left her "brainwashed."
"It seems like every month there is another huckster peddling a different scheme to evade paying taxes or increase the size of a tax refund," Tim Rank, chief of the white collar crime section of the U.S. attorney's office, said Thursday. Rank added that if taxpayers "have any question about the legitimacy of some 'creative' tax avoidance program, consult a reputable tax professional or the IRS.
"If instead you decide to try one of these schemes, be aware that you could end up in prison like Tami Mae."