Sovereign Oregon Pastor and Wife Flee Sentencing Hearing on Income Tax Evasion Charges
An Oregon pastor and his wife — tax protesters who appear to have morphed into antigovernment “sovereign citizens” — are now federal fugitives after refusing to appear for sentencing last week in Eugene, Ore., following their convictions for income tax evasion.
Ronald D. Joling, 71, and his wife, Dorothea, 72, of Coquille, Ore., “have engaged in a shameless scheme to defraud the United States and to evade payment of $1.2 million in federal taxes since 1992,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott E. Bradford said in court filings.
As a deterrent to such antigovernment tax protesters, the prosecutor recommended that the 71-year-old pastor of the conservative Hope Covenant Reformed Church in Coquille be sentenced to 121 months in prison, with 60 months recommended for Dorothea Joling.
Prosecutors have seized multiple rental properties and land owned by the couple and have asked the federal court to order the Jolings to pay $1.2 million in restitution to the U.S. government.