A Letter from Bob Bedford
I received the following from Linda Bedford. It is a letter by Bob and was written prior to his sentencing. It should give you a better picture of just what has transpired here. What has taken place here reminds me of the scripture which speaks of those who, “frameth mischief by a law.” Folks we are in dire straits here in America and around the world. One of our founding fathers said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We have slumbered too long!
The following is by Bob.
Many of you are aware that I have been engaged in a battle with the IRS for the last ten years, the last four in a major legal battle. Here is a synopsis of the story:
Several years ago a Nazarene layman, Paul Harris, from Denver CO contacted me about getting tax advice. He had a consulting company (TOWER) for businesses across the nation that he had directed for several years. Among other things he helped businessmen to be involved in offshore businesses. Periodically, he would either call or come by and ask several questions related to his work. If I did not have the answer readily, I would research the tax law and give him the answers to his questions. He was never more than an occasional client.
Beginning in 1996, and continuing through 2000, he held a conference for the various members of his organization. He asked if I would come and be a presenter at the conference in order to teach tax law compliance. I did not prepare any material of my own, but merely gathered IRS publications, professional publications, court cases, etc. and reviewed that material.
It appears that some of their clients began to abuse these arrangements in terms of tax law and had access to funds that they did not accurately report for the purpose of paying taxes. I knew none of this since I did not have any direct dealings with any of the businesses of these clients. I no longer have any professional relationship with this organization and have not had for several years.
Of particular interest was their convention in 1998, where a client who was in difficulty with the IRS, had a wire to allow the IRS to tape the speakers. This led to a raid of Harris and his associates houses and was part of a continuing investigation. This investigation led to an indictment that was issued in 2002. It was a total surprise to me and to this organization that I was included in the indictment with a single count of conspiracy. Conspiracy seems to be the allegation when they can’t find another one. The prosecutor told one of the defense attorneys that I was included so that I could not be a defense witness for them. The case was originally tried in 2005 and took 5 weeks for the prosecution to present their case. The defense attorneys elected not to put on a case since they felt they had sufficiently crossed the governments witnesses. The jury deliberated for 5 weeks before returning their verdicts. Harris was convicted on just 4 of the 27 counts, and Les Retherford was convicted on just 2 counts, and the jury was deadlocked on me.
Since there are no implementing regulations, we must look to case law to determine what a conspiracy means. There are no definitions given within the law. Thus it presents a problem in determining what the true substance of the complaint is.
At that conference in 1998 was Ronald Keeling, CPA, and in 1999 was Bruce Kaufmann, Attorney, (both Free Methodists from Florida) who can verify that my presentation amounted to reading the IRS manuals, case law, and information prepared by professional tax organizations, and answering questions related to it. Bruce also has been the attorney of record for a number of these clients. The one statement in the indictment that was interpreted as encouraging people to do wrong was read from an IRS manual! See Publication 583, page 15.
After two trials, we still have never seen any evidence (meaning documents) to support the claim and in a response filed with the Court, they have stated there is none other than the conference tape. I am released on my own recognizance, have not been fingerprinted, and have no restrictions other than the court controlling my passport. I have traveled outside the country three times and was always granted full traveling privileges.
The government elected to re-try my case and that was done in the last month. The governments case was presented in two weeks and the case was a cut-down presentation of the earlier trial. Most of the witnesses acknowledged under cross examination that they were liars, and we felt there was little left to their case. Several witnesses testified effectively for the defense. When the case went to the jury, we were confident that this would be over. However, the jury was baffled by the jury instructions particularly as to tax law, and also to the definition of conspiracy. These are two very complex aspects of law. As a result, they returned a verdict of guilty. This was in spite of the fact that our expert witness who is both a CPA and an attorney reviewed everything I had done or said for this organization and found nothing illegal at all.
An appeal is already planned as we have tentatively identified several reversible errors.
Several years ago my friend Pastor Bob Thompson in Indiana was accused by the IRS of tax evasion. He enlisted my help and we contributed to his case. With a lot of prayer and good legal defense, he was acquitted and we rejoiced. The legal climate has become much more difficult and we need our friends to help us in this battle.
Many of you have known me for a long time. Since 1967 I have prepared over 50,000 federal and state tax returns. I have represented many in audits—in the neighborhood of 500 audits. I have represented over 100 clients in the US Tax Court. In no instance have I ever been accused of doing any of these services inappropriately. Even in this current case, I am not accused of any wrongdoing directly. None of the tax returns that I have prepared have ever been challenged as false. (In fact, the next hearing is scheduled for after April 15th so that it would not interfere with tax season.) The charge is that I knowingly assisted others to do wrong, which is totally false.
This has been the most difficult circumstance that we have had to endure. This letter is but a synopsis of the cruel treatment that we have received from the government. While it has been difficult, we have also been greatly blessed by God during this time. God has provided every one of our needs, and has allowed me to train almost 200 church planters this past year. Of those, 150 of the church planters were in three countries in Africa. I’m in the middle of completing two new books, one on holiness and one on church planting.
We are truly grateful for our faithful friends. It has been our privilege to invest in the lives of others, and we have continued to do so during this time. With some regularity, I am receiving emails from those trained in Africa that new churches are being planted in many countries. We also receive communications from those we have led to the Lord and placed in ministries around the world. God is good. Anyone can live well when things are going their way. But God has reminded me that his grace is sufficient to live well when things are not going my way. I purpose to continue to do so.