Federal Authorities Nab Alleged Tax Dodger

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A Payson businessman has run afoul of federal authorities.

Wayne C. Bentson was scheduled for trial May 21 before Judge John M. Roll in the U.S. District Court in Tucson.

In a phone interview with the Payson Roundup Thursday, Bentson said the trial has been pushed back until the end of October.

Bentson was arrested March 14 and charged with two counts of failure-to-file federal tax returns and one count of conspiracy to impede the administration of internal revenue laws, according to an item published on the website, sierratimes.com.

Court documents show Bentson entered a plea of not guilty March 21 and requested the case be moved to the U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

Bentson said he didn't enter a plea. The judge, Nancy Fiora, may have entered it for him, and that would not have been within her authority, he said.

To his knowledge the case will remain in the Tucson U.S. District Court.

A telephone call to Bentson's initial attorney, Mark Hawkins of Mesa, for an update on the case, had not been answered by press time.

Bentson said Hawkins will no longer represent him.

He said the court refused to let him represent himself, so Nevada attorney Joel F. Hansen will handle his case.

Bentson said he will be carrying on as usual until his October trial date, and putting together his case with Hansen.

"I have to educate Joel," Bentson said, "I have read the entire tax code and all the tax regulations. I have read six U.S. attorney manuals and several IRS manuals."

According to the SierraTimes. com publication, Bentson has been a fixture in the "tax movement" for many years, operating under his own name, as well as that of "Western Information Network" and "The Bentson Group."

He presents seminars and classes throughout the country, claiming he can teach participants, who pay as much as $1,500 each, how to beat the IRS. However, he and his wife have lost six of their own personal tax cases and their son, Stephen Bentson, was convicted of failure-to-file in 1991.

At least one Payson man, Tom Martell, fell victim to Bentson's doctrine. He was convicted of failure to file tax returns in 1995, spent five months in federal prison and five months under house arrest.

Bentson was the main witness in Martell's case. The members of the jury reportedly said Bentson's testimony and demeanor strongly influenced their decision to convict Martell. That testimony included the admission that he did not file taxes, however, no action was taken against him at that time, according to the SierraTimes report.

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