19 July 1997
Source: IRS Inspection <email@example.com>
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Return-Path: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 12:28:11 -0400 From: IRS Inspection <email@example.com> To: Interested-Parties@net.insp.irs.gov Subject: Something of Interest Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org United States Attorney Western District of Washington FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 18, 1997 JAMES D. BELL PLEADS GUILTY TO OBSTRUCTING THE IRS AND USING FALSE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS United States Attorney Kate Pflaumer announced that JAMES DALTON BELL, 39, pleaded guilty today in the federal court in Tacoma to two felony charges. BELL, a resident of Vancouver, Washington, pleaded guilty to obstructing and impeding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and to falsely using a social security number with the intent to deceive. United States District Court Judge Franklin D. Burgess presided over today's proceedings. The charges stem from an investigation initiated in October, 1996 by IRS Internal Security Inspectors into reports that BELL was gathering the names and home addresses of IRS employees. In previous court hearings, IRS Inspectors testified that BELL had obtained the names and home addresses of 70 IRS employees as part of "Operation LocatIRS." In the eight page plea agreement signed by BELL, he acknowledged that he had gathered the names and addresses of the IRS employees in order to intimidate them in the performance of their official duties. During the course of their investigation, IRS Inspectors discovered that BELL was advocating a scheme called "Assassination Politics", whereby persons would be rewarded with "digital cash" for killing certain undesirable people. BELL identified these undesirables as government employees, such as IRS employees, who would be intimidated from enforcing internal revenue laws for fear of being assassinated. In the plea agreement, BELL admitted that he suggested using "Assassination Politics" as an enforcement mechanism for the "Multnomah County Common Law Court", and that this was part of his effort to obstruct and impede the enforcement of internal revenue laws. In affidavits previously filed in this case, IRS investigators identified BELL as a participant in the "Multnomah County Common Law Court", which was described as a self-appointed anti-government extremist group which purports to hold "trials" of IRS and other Government employees for the performance of their official duties. The affidavits indicated that in January, 1997 the "Multnomah County Common Law Court" held a "trial" of IRS and other Government officials. In the plea agreement, BELL also admitted that on March 16, 1997, he conducted a chemical "stink bomb" attack on the IRS office in Vancouver, Washington, using the noxious chemical mercaptan. In affidavits filed with the Court, IRS Inspectors tied BELL to two previous mercaptan attacks against non-government targets: one being a lawyer's office in 1984, and the other a vehicle in 1989. The IRS investigators also linked BELL to two purchase orders for noxious chemicals, one in 1994 and one in 1996. According to the plea agreement, the attack on the IRS office resulted in a cost to the government of $1,359, and caused a number of IRS employees to have to leave work. In an affidavit previously filed in this case, IRS Inspectors indicated that the mercaptan attack may have been linked to the February 20, 1997 seizure of BELL's vehicle by the IRS for unpaid taxes. As part of the plea agreement, BELL also admitted that he used several different social security numbers in order to hide assets from the IRS and thus to impede the IRS's ability to collect taxes he owed and to prevent the IRS from levying his wages. Federal agents had previously executed two search warrants on BELL's residence. On April 1, 1997, IRS agents seized computers, documents, and firearms during a search. In a follow-up search, the Environmental Protection Agency seized a variety of dangerous chemicals which had been discovered during the execution of the IRS warrant. BELL was arrested by IRS Inspectors on May 16, 1997. BELL continues to be held in custody based on a May 23, 1997 ruling by Magistrate Judge J. Kelley Arnold that BELL posed a danger to the community and was a flight risk. BELL faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the obstruction charge, and five years and a $250,000 fine for using a phony social security number. The IRS received assistance in the investigation of BELL from the Portland Police Bureau, Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Vancouver, Washington Police Department.