Nearly $5 million fraudulent lien filed in retaliation for single wage garnishment
BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – A federal jury convicted a Mercer County man of retaliating against a federal law enforcement officer by filing a fraudulent lien and attempting to interfere with the administration of Internal Revenue laws. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber presided over the two-day jury trial.
According to court records and evidence at trial, Jeffrey Reed, 62, of Flat Top, West Virginia, owed a significant tax debt to the Department of Treasury and was employed by a hotel in the Oak Hill, West Virginia area. In 2015, after letters sent to Reed from the IRS were either sent back or ignored, an IRS revenue officer took steps to garnish a portion of Reed’s wages. When Reed learned of these efforts, he met with managers of the hotel and requested that they not comply with the IRS’ attempts to garnish his wages. In retaliation for a single wage garnishment of $598, Reed filed a $4.95 million lien with the Mercer County Clerk directed against the revenue officer and the owner of the hotel. Reed’s lien claimed 165 constitutional violations, including illegal search and seizure, war, treason and slavery. Reed also sought to attach any real and personal property owned by the revenue officer and the owner of the hotel.
Reed further claimed that the revenue officer owed him an additional $9 million because his name had been copyrighted.
Department of Treasury Special Agents testified they spoke to Reed in February 2020 at which time he admitted to filing the lien against the revenue officer. Reed indicated that he filed the lien in order to obstruct the collection of his wages.
Reed faces up to 13 years in federal prison and a fine up to $500,000 when he is sentenced on November 29, 2021.
Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston commended the excellent work of the revenue officer and the Department of Treasury agents that worked on the case. The United States Department of Treasury, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administrations (TIGTA)-Investigations conducted the investigation with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The prosecution was specifically authorized by the United States Department of Justice, Tax Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Erik S. Goes and Ryan Blackwell prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-00066.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Southern District of West Virginia