'We The People' Tax Protesters Sentenced for Fraud
Jun. 17, 1995
COLDWATER, Mich. (AP) _ Four members of the anti-tax group We the People received sentences of up to 15 years in prison Friday for trying to defraud hundreds of farmers.
The four told victims they could receive millions of dollars from a class-action lawsuit against the federal government if they paid a $300 filing fee. They failed to mention that the Colorado lawsuit had been dismissed in June 1993.
Documents seized from We the People showed that more than $1.2 million in bogus filing fees were missing, Branch County Prosecutor John Livesay said.
Mervin Hague and Scott Hildebrand of Iowa, David Gardemann of Minnesota and Michael Thorn of Coldwater were convicted last month of four counts each of conspiracy and fraud.
Thorn also was convicted of possession of firearms by a felon.
Circuit Judge Michael Cherry sentenced Hildebrand, Gardemann and Hague each to a maximum 10 years in prison and Thorn was sentenced to a maximum of 15 years.