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Tax Rebel Schiff Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

December 19, 1985|United Press International

HARTFORD, Conn. — Irwin A. Schiff, author of the best-selling book "How Anyone Can Stop Paying Income Taxes," was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison and fined $30,000 for tax evasion.

But he was permitted to remain free on his own recognizance on the condition that he enter a hospital for treatment of depression, which a defense psychiatrist testified he suffered.

Schiff, 57, was given concurrent three-year terms and fined for three counts of tax evasion.

Tax Protests Banned

U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey also placed Schiff on three years' probation and ordered him not to get involved in any tax protest activities during the period.

But Dorsey allowed Schiff to remain free on his own recognizance on the condition that he admit himself immediately to the psychiatric unit at the Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven, Conn.

Schiff's attorney, John Williams of New Haven, said he will appeal the conviction.

The judge's decision followed nearly an hour of testimony by psychiatrist Morton Silberstein, who said Schiff was suffering from a manic depressive psychosis and needed treatment.

Faced 16 Years in Prison

Schiff, who faced a possible maximum 16 years in prison and $130,000 in fines, has advised thousands of Americans through his books and speeches not to pay federal income taxes, calling them unconstitutional.

In 1981, he served 4 1/2 months in federal prison for failing to pay taxes on 1974 and 1975 income.

He was convicted by a federal jury in October of willfully failing to pay more than $49,000 in income taxes in 1980, 1981 and 1982.

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