Colorado ‘sovereign citizens’ convicted in $100 billion tax fraud skip sentencing to play golf
Three Colorado Springs “sovereign citizens” skipped their sentencing hearing Wednesday on tax fraud charges to play golf.
“We did go golfing,” said John Pawelski. “I shot a 49, which was pretty good for me.”
Pawelski and his friend, George Brokaw, explained to the judge that their unidentified legal advisor had filed documents for them and assured them their convictions would be “abrogated,” reported The Denver Post.
Pawleski admitted that they “naively assumed the process would go more quickly than it did” and went to play golf with another friend, Mimi Vigil, who was also convicted in the scheme.
Vigil, who sells sex toys as a Pure Romance representative, was led grinning out of the courtroom in handcuffs after she refused to stop interrupting the court to describe herself as a “beneficiary” and the judge a “trustee.”
All three claimed in court documents they created themselves that they were owed more than $100 billion in tax payments as part of a political statement.
“I am a natural man, a legal person, a legal man — something I didn’t know before,” Pawelski said, echoing comments made by Brokaw.
Brokaw apologized for skipping his sentencing hearing after the judge ordered him held without bond, and he gave his “solemn promise” to appear at the next hearing, rescheduled for Feb. 10.
They were each convicted in November on 18 counts of tax fraud following a trial they rarely attended.
Prosecutors said they filed false tax refund claims and signed “private registered bond for setoff” documents payable to the U.S. Department of Treasury for $100 billion.
Pawleski, who represented himself like his co-defendants, argued that none of them actually received any money from the phony claims they filed, so no crime was committed.