A Pennsylvania man stopped paying income taxes in 1995, and his defense is otherwordly

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 1: Current federal tax forms are distributed at the offices of the Internal Revenue Service November 1, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. A presidential panel today recommended a complete overhaul of virtually every tax law for individuals and businesses. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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James Schlosser, 59, stopped paying income taxes in 1995. As they do, the IRS finally caught up to him; they say he acquired $2.3 million between 1994 and 2014 as a representative of a medical device company and used a series of highly elaborate schemes to hide it.

But this was no ordinary oversight. Representing himself in court, Schlosser compared having a Social Security number to the “mark of the beast” and used that as his justification for evading taxes for decades.

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The IRS was not amused. One official told PennLive: “Convictions like the one returned against James K. Schlosser send a loud and clear message that regardless of their opinions, people who willfully defy the tax laws will be fully investigated, prosecuted and subjected to the full punishment of the law for their actions.” Schlosser faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $450,000 and the full costs of prosecution.

The IRS says Schlosser is a resident of Bird-in-Hand, Pa., but did almost everything he could to hide that fact. Schlosser laundered money through the purchase of gold coins, which he then sold to earn income. He also tried to revoke his American citizenship and Social Security number. When that didn’t work, he attempted to declare himself a sovereign human being. Then, he simply assigned his earnings to foreign business trusts and entities he registered in Nevada, using a web of mail forwarding services and “trustees” to recoup his income. He deposited earnings into two investment accounts.

United States District Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl is scheduled to sentence Schlosser on June 10, 2017.

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