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Trial nears in IRS case - Times Union

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Monday, October 14, 2013

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Trial nears in IRS case

Ex-orthodontist accused of filing bogus tax returns, scamming a colleague
Robert Gavi, Times Union
Updated 7:00 am, Monday, October 14, 2013
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Albany

A former Columbia County orthodontist considered an "elder" in the anti-government sovereign citizen movement will go on trial Wednesday in U.S. District Court on charges that he scammed the Internal Revenue Service and a fellow doctor.

Glenn Unger, 62, who has used the name "Dr. Sam Kennedy" to preach an anti-tax message on Internet broadcasts and in seminars in Albany, is accused of trying to obtain $36 million from the IRS through fraudulent tax returns between 2007 and 2010.

The IRS realized the claims by Unger, who has not filed legal tax returns since 1999, were allegedly phony and sent him no money.

Federal prosecutors say Unger, the former operator of Columbia County Orthodontics in Chatham, also scammed another orthodontist out of $200,000. They say in 2006, Unger approached Dr. William O'Donnell and explained he was giving up his dental practice to do "missionary work" and take care of his ill wife. Unger told O'Donnell of some 80 patients who needed orthodontic care, but allegedly failed to mention they had already prepaid him.

"O'Donnell agreed to accept Unger's patients in about May 2006 assuming he'd be paid for his future work," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ransom Reynolds wrote in a trial brief. "Once O'Donnell began treating Unger's patients, he realized that Unger had already been paid for those services."

Prosecutors allege Unger gave O'Donnell a false promissory note of $200,000.

"Unaware that the note was fictitious, O'Donnell attempted to deposit the note at his bank and was told it was worthless," the brief stated.

Jury selection begins Wednesday before U.S. District Court Senior Judge Thomas McAvoy at 10 a.m.

The FBI was led to Unger in April 2010 after the agency learned that U.S. governors received letters telling them they could be "removed."

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, has identified Unger as one of the most secretive leaders of the sovereign citizen movement, which it described as a subset of the anti-government "militia" and "Patriot" movements.

The FBI considers sovereign citizens an increasing domestic terror threat, Federal prosecutors have asked that questions for prospective jurors sitting on the Unger trial include queries about such groups.

One question read: "Have you, or any members of your immediate family ever been a member, or otherwise been involved in, any formal or informal militia or other citizen army?"

Another question stated: "Have you, or any members of your immediate family ever been a member of any organization that promoted the notion that the federal government does not have jurisdiction over ordinary citizens or in the fifty states?"

Unger is representing himself. A federal public defender will be present as a standby counsel.

rgavin@timesunion.com518-434-2403@RobertGavinTU

 

 

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