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Girlfriend of Anti-Tax Author Sentenced

February 23, 2006

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ A former girlfriend of anti-tax crusader Irwin Schiff was sentenced Thursday to more than five years in federal prison for advising people that there was no federal law requiring them to pay income tax.

Cynthia Neun, 52, also was ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution and faces years’ worth of back taxes, interest and penalties.

Prosecutors cast Neun as a key administrator of Schiff’s Las Vegas business, Freedom Books, which advised clients that they did not have to pay federal income taxes and that the Internal Revenue Service has no legal authority to collect them. Prosecutors estimate that the fraud cost the government as much as $57 million since 1999.

``There is more evidence of the validity of the tooth fairy than there is of this tax theory,″ U.S. District Court Judge Kent Dawson said.

Neun was found guilty in October of 15 charges, including tax evasion and aid in filing fraudulent tax returns. Appeals of the conviction and 68-month sentence were planned, defense lawyer Michael Cristalli said.

Dawson was due to sentence Schiff on Friday on 13 conspiracy, tax evasion and tax fraud charges. He faces up to 43 years in prison.

A third co-defendant, Lawrence Cohen, 65, was sentenced Feb. 3 to 33 months in prison on one conviction for aid in filing fraudulent tax returns.

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