April 2, 2001

APRIL 2, 2001

CONTACT: William Baghdoyan, Assistant Attorney General 207-626-8800

Attorney General Steven Rowe today announced the recent conviction of Delbert J. Weller, 66, of Cherryfield, Maine, in the Washington County Superior Court, on several criminal tax felonies. A jury convicted Mr. Weller of two counts of income tax evasion, two counts of filing fraudulent income tax returns, and one count of failing to file an income tax return.

The trial judge, Superior Court Chief Justice Andrew Mead, sentenced Mr. Weller to 4 years imprisonment with all but two years suspended and three years of probation. An additional suspended consecutive sentence of 4 1/2 years with three years probation was also imposed. The judge's order requires restitution of $2,200 for back taxes and interest.

The prosecutor in the case, Assistant Attorney General William Baghdoyan, characterized Weller as a perennial "tax protestor" who has been previously convicted on three separate occasions for failing to file Maine income tax returns. Assistant Attorney General Baghdoyan said that Weller and many other tax protestors claim that they are not subject to either the State or Federal income tax laws, and as a result refuse to file returns or file fraudulent returns and refuse to pay income taxes.

Attorney General Rowe also stated that in addition to the conviction of Mr. Weller, twenty other individuals have been convicted of criminal tax violations in the past six months. In addition to jail terms and fines, these convictions have netted the State over $418,000 in court ordered restitution.

The Department of Attorney General prosecutes criminal violations of the State tax code in conjunction with Maine Revenue Services.