Utah Couple Arrested for Felony Tax Evasion

A West Haven Utah couple was arrested for felony tax evasion after they failed to pay any state income tax since before 2013.

Failure to claim a six figure income

Photo by: GotCredit

36 year old Daniel Chester Erickson and his wife of the same age Bobbi Jo Erickson were arrested for felony tax evasion after it was reported the couple had either not claimed income on their taxes or had failed to file their income taxes in four years. Investigators determined the couple had actually been bringing home six figures a year, one year closer to seven figures but had just failed or chosen not to report the income to the IRS. The husband and wife were said to owe the Utah State Tax Commission nearly $70 thousand dollars.

Felony tax evasion

According to Utah Code 59-10-541: “Any person who, with intent to evade any tax or any requirement of this chapter, or any lawful requirement of the commission, fails to pay the tax, or to make, render, sign, or verify any return, or to supply any information, within the time required by or under this chapter, or who, with like intent, makes, renders, signs, or verifies any false or fraudulent return or statement, or supplies any false or fraudulent information, is liable for a civil penalty . . . and is also guilty of a criminal violation “.

Penalties

Section 59-1-401 warns “A person is guilty of a second degree felony if that person commits an act . . . with respect to . . . a return”. The couple faces four second degree felonies for tax evasion as well as additional felonies for pattern of unlawful activity as well as failing to render proper tax returns. If convicted the couple who are parents to four children could face decades behind bars.

Freedom of Speech Does Not Permit Making Threats of Violence against the President

A Utah man is facing decades behind bars for repeatedly making threats of violence against the President, something not considered a right under the Freedom of Speech Clause.

Threatening the President

Photo by: Dave Newman

33 year old Travis Luke Dominguez of Midvale, Utah was arrested after calling 911 on numerous occasions and threatening the life of President Trump. Although there is no evidence reportedly linking Dominguez’s threats of violence to any substantial danger as he is known for blowing smoke, he was arrested and tried in federal court for using his words to make threats of violence against the President.

Threats of violence

Utah Code 76-5-107 notes that making threats of violence is illegal if accompanied with “a show of immediate force or violence” or while “act[ing] with intent to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury . . . or death”. If someone threatens another and acts with intent or violence, is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. Making a threat against the President however, regardless or any accompanying action is considered a class E felony and punishable by up to five years in federal prison according to 18 U.S. Code § 871.

Freedom of (most) speech

Hateful talk towards POTUS is typical nowadays with many voicing their distaste orally or through social media accounts with vicious flare. While sharing negative opinions about the president is a constitutionally given right to any American citizen, knowingly and willfully sending threatening mail or “otherwise mak[ing] any such threat against the President . . . “ is crossing the line. This law that has been adopted into the United States legal system stems from the English Treason Act of 1351 which made it a crime to plan or “imagine” death to a member of the Royal Family. While the Puritans freed themselves from English rule, they somehow chose to keep a law placing an elected citizen on a pedestal much like the King or Queen’s with special contradictions in place to override constitutional rights of the everyday citizens. Residents of the United States are encouraged to choose their free speech carefully when speaking of individuals in high places to avoid criminal charges.

No Reason Needed For Police to Ask to Enter Home

Police do not need a valid reason to ask someone if they can enter a home and unless a warrant is served, homeowners do not need to comply with the request.

Respect but protect

Photo by: West Midlands Police

Many Utah residents acknowledge police officers as being authority figures who can often be seen as intimidating. When an officer knocks on someone’s door, the first reaction a resident may have is to comply completely with anything the officer asks of them. They may think that anything other than complete submission is a sign of guilt. This can lead to a resident waiving his Fourth Amendment rights.

Knock and talk

In order for police officers to enter a home without permission, they need to have a legal warrant or reasonable grounds to do so. With a warrant in hand, police have the right to enter and search any areas outlined in the warrant. If officers do not have a warrant and have no valid reason to enter a home, they are still allowed to knock on the door, just like anybody else can. This is known as a simple “knock and talk”.

Permission not granted

During a “friendly” knock and talk, the homeowner has the option to:

• Talk to officers through the closed door;
• Open the door and answer questions at the door;
• Go outside to speak to officers on the porch; or
• Invite officers inside the residence to talk.

Unfortunately with nervousness and intimidation at work, the majority of people will be overly agreeable and give officers permission to enter their home. Once this is done, that resident has forfeited the protection given them under the Fourth Amendment. Utah residents are encouraged to keep calm when police come knocking and to be respectful while also protecting their rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. If permission is not given and officers enter and search the home anyway, any evidence could be no admissible in court. It is best to consult with an attorney regarding these matters.