Feds Seek to Seize Tony Alamo Property

The federal government is seeking permission to sell Arkansas property linked to Tony Alamo to pay $2.5 million in restitution the convicted child sex abuser owes his victims.

Conner Eldridge, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced Monday that his office had filed forfeiture and collection actions in federal court on 27 properties connected to Alamo, also known as Bernie Lazar Hoffman. Alamo was sentenced in 2009 to 175 years in prison for taking five girls across state lines for sex. He was ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution to each of the five victims, or $2.5 million.

"We will use every tool at our disposal to see that Tony Alamo pays the $2.5 million he owes to the victims in this case," Eldridge said in a news release. "The victims in this case suffered from horrendous abuse at his hands. We will do all we can to ensure that they receive the restitution that was ordered."

The 27 parcels — in Fort Smith, Texarkana and Fouke (Miller County) — are described as being owned by members of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, but the U.S. Attorney's Office argued that they remain in Alamo's control and that the owners are "owners in name only." The office said this was a tactic Alamo had used to evade taxes. He was convicted in 1994 of federal tax evasion.

"Under criminal forfeiture laws, the government is authorized to seek the forfeiture of any real property with a nexus to criminal activity, regardless of the owner of record," the office said. "The properties named in the six forfeiture actions facilitated Alamo's abuse of minor children by concealing his criminal conduct from law enforcement and assisting him in psychologically imposing his will on the minor children."