Posted 10/14/2013 12:00 am
Updated 5 months ago
Fred Neal Jr. will spend one of his golden years in Club Fed.
The 81-year-old, who had homes in Marshall, Texas, and Harrison, was sentenced last week to a year and a day in federal prison after pleading guilty to interfering with the Internal Revenue Service laws and filing false liens against the government. He is scheduled to report to prison on Nov. 18.
If you recall, Neal subscribed to the “redemption movement” and thought he and his wife didn’t owe the $1.3 million in federal income taxes for 1987-94 that the IRS said they did.
The conspiracy theory he followed was based on the idea that the U.S. government went bankrupt in 1933 and there was a way to tap into a secret account the government had for each person.
Of course, adopting that theory backfired for Neal.
Neal faced up to 10 years in prison on the filing false liens charge alone. The presentence report, though, recommended a sentence in the range of 15 to 21 months.
Neal’s attorney, Blake Hendrix of Little Rock, argued in a court filing that Neal be given probation because of his age and an examiner who found Neal “barely competent.” In addition, Neal’s criminal conduct would not be repeated, Hendrix wrote.
“Some have pre-judged Mr. Neal [as] an anti-government tax protester,” Hendrix wrote. “He is not. He is a man who, when old, gullible, and desperate, turned to misguided (and unlawful) measures to protect him and his wife from ruin.”
Hendrix said Neal is likely the oldest first-time offender in the Eastern District of Arkansas. But U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson wasn’t moved to sentence Neal to probation.
Wilson did, however, recommend that Neal receive mental health counseling while he’s locked up.