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Vocal Foe of Taxes Is Guilty

O.C.'s 'Nick' Jesson, who ran for governor, faces federal sentencing and a state trial on tax charges.

June 28, 2005|Jean O. Pasco | Times Staff Writer

A nationally known anti-tax crusader who ran unsuccessfully for governor of California in 2002 pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of filing false tax forms. He also faces state charges.

George Henry "Nick" Jesson, 54, of Fountain Valley finished fourth of seven candidates in the 2002 GOP primary for governor. He ran on an anti-tax platform and won less than 1% of the vote.

He was arrested in April at his company, No Time Delay Electronics, in Huntington Beach.

IRS spokesman Frank Fotinatos said Monday that Jesson admitted filing a false federal tax form in May 2000, contending that his business paid no wages in 1997. He actually paid wages of $177,083 that year to himself and $273,236 to his wife, Fotinatos said. Jesson also admitted falsely obtaining a business tax refund of $215,454 and converting it to his personal use.

Jesson will be sentenced Oct. 17 by U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson in Los Angeles. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus $215,454 in restitution. He remains free until sentencing.

Jesson and his wife, Trina Thi Vu, also face a state court trial next month on six felony charges of failing to pay state taxes on $3 million in income from 1997 to 1999.

Court documents in the state case allege that the couple falsely reported their taxable personal income as zero for 1997 through 1999. If convicted on the state charges, Jesson could face up to nine years in prison. His wife could face seven years. Each is free on $250,000 bail in that case.

Jesson was involved with We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education, a tax protest group that bought a full-page ad in USA Today in 2001 to declare that the government did not have the authority to collect taxes from paychecks.

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