Colorado tax evader pleads guilty to fleeing to avoid serving five-year prison sentence

 

Date: June 19, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

A Colorado tax defier pleaded guilty yesterday to failing to surrender to serve his prison sentence for tax evasion and illegal possession of a firearm.

Birk was convicted by a jury in July 2019 of tax evasion. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Birk founded a sole proprietorship, Tarryall River Log Homes LLC, which sold and built log homes. Although the company was profitable, Birk did not voluntarily pay federal taxes on its income. When the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began collection efforts, Birk hired a tax firm to prepare eight years' worth of delinquent tax returns, but concealed from the firm $400,000 of retirement distributions. Even after filing returns, Birk still did not pay what the returns acknowledged he owed in taxes. Instead, he sent the IRS threatening correspondence and sought to impede its efforts to seize money from his bank accounts. He did not file returns or make any tax payments for 2006 through 2018.

Based on this conduct, on Oct. 30, 2019, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn sentenced Birk to 60 months in prison, to serve three years of supervised release, and to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $1,858,826.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Birk was ordered to report to prison in November 2019 to serve his sentence. Instead, he fled Colorado with a fully automatic assault rifle, two pistols, over a dozen loaded magazines, hundreds of additional rounds of ammunition, ballistic helmets, ballistic vests, and gas masks. Birk remained a fugitive until he was caught and arrested in Florida in January 2020 and has been in custody ever since.

Judge Blackburn scheduled sentencing for Sept. 10, 2020. At sentencing, Birk faces a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment for his failure to appear, and ten years' imprisonment for possession of a firearm after being convicted of a felony, in addition to the 60-month term of imprisonment previously imposed.

IRS special agents and United States Marshall Service conducted the investigation. Department of Justice Trial Attorneys Elizabeth C. Hadden and Christopher Magnani are prosecuting the case.