Defendant filed more than $100 million in liens against current and former officials in scheme to inflate tax refunds
Date: January 28, 2020
A Georgia man who began by filing false tax returns claiming millions of dollars, then escalated to filing multi-million dollar liens against government officials and attempting to put them into involuntary bankruptcy, culminated today in one of the longest federal sentences ever handed out for a false retaliatory lien case.
Timothy Jermaine Pate, a/k/a Akenaten Ali of Augusta, was sentenced today by Judge R. Stan Baker in U.S. District Court in Augusta to 300 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release after completion of his sentence.
There is no parole in the federal system.
Pate was convicted in October 2019 on 15 counts of filing false retaliatory liens against federal officials and five counts of making a false bankruptcy declaration, which stem from his efforts to put federal officials into bankruptcy against their will.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Pate filed tax returns from 2016 through 2018 falsely claiming he was owed more than $7 million in tax refunds. Pate also attempted to have the IRS pay his past-due child support. After the IRS repeatedly rejected his false returns, Pate – a U.S. citizen and Georgia resident who claimed to be a Moorish national not subject to U.S. law – filed a federal civil case against the IRS commissioner seeking tax refunds.
Pate attempted to have the court order the arrest of the IRS commissioner. When that failed, Pate threatened to file liens against the federal judge assigned to his case and other officials of the U.S. Treasury, unless he was paid millions of dollars from the IRS. Unbowed by his threats, the victim-public servants in this case continued to carry out their duties.
Pate carried out his threats. In May 2018, he filed liens ranging from $15 million to $33 million against a U.S. magistrate judge in Augusta, the former U.S. Treasury secretary, IRS commissioner, and the Treasury inspector general, among others. He then published notices of the liens in The Augusta Chronicle. The next month, Pate targeted additional federal officials with bogus liens; this time, he went after a federal bankruptcy judge in Augusta, the U.S. Bankruptcy clerk of court, and the U.S. magistrate judge for liens ranging from $15 million to $100 million.
When his victims refused to order the payment of his claimed refunds, Pate filed involuntary bankruptcy petitions against five federal officials on May 21, 2018, that would have put them into bankruptcy. Pate was arrested by federal authorities in August 2018 and has remained jailed since.
"At IRS Criminal Investigation, our top priority is protecting the integrity of our nation's tax system," said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. "Today's sentence should send a clear message that orchestrating a scheme to file bogus returns and liens while seeking to abuse the tax system will result in your prosecutions."
"As we approach tax filing season, those who consider committing refund fraud and filing false liens should be aware of the extremely negative consequences of doing so, especially against federal officials," said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. "This sentence is an example of the FBI and our federal partners commitment to vigorously pursue anyone who tries to enrich themselves by circumventing the judicial process."
"Timothy Pate tried to subvert the administration of government," said U.S. Attorney Christine. "He tried to extract millions of taxpayer dollars by bullying hard-working public servants and threatening federal judges. His paper terrorism has now earned him 25 years in federal prison."
The investigation was led by the IRS, FBI, and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the case was prosecuted by the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia, with assistance from the Department of Justice's Tax Division.