Dean Christensen, Richfield, unsuccessful candidate last year for the Utah Legislature, was sentenced to prison on Wednesday and fined more than $120,000 for tax crimes.
Sixth District Court Judge Don V. Tibbs assessed fines and surcharges totaling $121,500 along with tax deficiency and interest restitution of $6,181. Surcharge money is generally used to pay for victim restitution, law enforcement training and other purposes, according to Sevier County Attorney Don Brown.Christensen has been an outspoken critic of income taxes for many years, claiming they are a violation of individual rights under the Constitution. He was imprisoned by Washington state in 1977, and incarcerated a short time in Utah in 1987 for tax offenses.
The sentencing doesn't end Christensen's problems. He has also been charged with jury tampering; Brown charged Christensen "communicated in writing a threat to property of jurors" on Monday.
The alleged threat was to jurors who found him guilty of the eight felonies and two misdemeanor charges on April 16.
In yet another development in the case, Christensen filed a motion with the court for a certificate of probable cause, contending he hasn't been convicted of a crime and so should be released on his own recognizance.
Brown told the Deseret News that Christensen will be held in custody in the Sevier County Jail until his motion and the jury tampering charge are acted upon by the court. He then will be transported to the state prison to begin serving his sentences.
Christensen was sentenced to 1-15 years on each of four counts of failure to pay taxes. He was also fined $10,000 and $2,500 surcharge on each count. Prison sentences on these charges were ordered to run concurrently.
Tibbs ordered sentences for failure to file tax returns to run consecutively. Christensen was sentenced on four counts, not to exceed fives years each, in the state prison. He was also fined $5,000 and $1,250 in surcharges.
On the two misdemeanor convictions of failure to pay taxes, Christensen was sentenced on each to six months in the county jail, fined $1,000 and ordered to pay surcharges of $250.
Although the state provided him with a public defender, he insisted on serving as his own attorney during the trial. He frequently attempted to argue points of constitutional law, but was told that the court would tell the jury about the law and that the defendant's personal interpretations were not an issue.
The judge also refused to admit into evidence 18 of 29 documents, which Christensen claimed supported his case. They dealt mostly with U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
The tax rebel has had problems with the federal government. Personal property was confiscated and auctioned by the Internal Revenue Service a few years ago, with proceeds going toward unpaid federal income taxes.
Christensen filed as an independent candidate for the State Legislature last year but didn't get many votes. He is a retired airline pilot.