Salesman gets jail term for evading state taxes

October 23, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

A Bel Air insurance salesman who boasted often and openly about not filing state tax returns was sentenced Friday to 18 months in the county Detention Center for evading more than $13,000 in state income taxes.

However, prosecutor William Christoforo said his calculations show that Ronald H. Brodt Sr., 46, of the 2800 block of Henley Drive owes the state more than $82,000 dating to 1978 and has shown a long pattern of attempting to hide his assets.

Brodt, who filed an appeal immediately after being sentenced, was convicted Aug. 5 for failing to file state income tax returns for 1990, 1991 and 1992. The prosecutor said the statute of limitations prevented the state from charging Brodt for failing to file state returns before 1990.

"Brodt's big mouth got him in trouble in the first place, and he showed his extreme arrogance again," Mr. Christoforo said at the sentencing. "It galls me that Brodt filed tax returns at the last minute in Annapolis, but he didn't pay any money for the taxes he owes."

Copies of Brodt's state income tax returns for 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993 given to the court at the sentencing showed the defendant filed them only Thursday, reporting his adjusted gross income for those years as $228,017, including $109,894 earned for 1993. He listed his tax liability for the four years as $15,883.

Mr. Christoforo said Brodt has used state public services, sent his children to state public schools, driven on state highways and not paid any state income tax since 1978.

He said 1993 figures from the state comptroller were not available, but that from 1978 through 1992, Brodt owed the state $35,732 in taxes plus penalties and interest, raising the total to $82,516.

For 1990, 1991 and 1992, Mr. Christoforo said that Brodt owed "at the very minimum, $13,393 including penalties and interest."

Brodt's returns for the same three years reported a tax liability of $7,870.

"Brodt hasn't responded to IRS auditors who want to sit down and talk about his federal liability," the prosecutor said.

Mr. Christoforo said Brodt has buried his assets well, so well that the state may never recover its tax money from Brodt.

The deed to Brodt's house has another man's name on it, and his telephone is listed in the name of his tenant, the prosecutor said. "He just does not want to pay for the benefits he gets."

Before passing sentence, Judge William O. Carr chastised Brodt, saying that the defendant had aligned himself with those who want something for nothing.

"You sat here and tried to convince the jury and me that you had engaged in some sort of research before concluding you did not have to file your tax returns, but it was not a search for understanding," Judge Carr said. "You expected the jury and me to believe that your search was well-intentioned and honorable, but you were looking for ways that you could avoid paying taxes."

The judge called it ironic that Brodt and other members of Save-A-Patriot Fellowship, a private tax protest group, call themselves "Patriots."

At that point, Brodt shouted, "Why did I do two years in Vietnam? I don't like you calling me a . . . liar."

"Patriots don't avoid their obligations, they seek them out," Judge Carr said calmly. "You filed [returns] too little, too late."

Brodt shouted back, saying he was forced into it. "I still don't believe I have to file," he said. "This is nothing but a big scam. . . . I can't believe you, Judge Carr, a man as intelligent as you, fell for their lies."

The judge then spelled out his sentence: five years on each of the three counts with all but 18 months suspended and five years of supervised probation. He ordered Brodt to make arrangements to pay all unpaid state income taxes plus penalties and interest within six months of his release from jail.

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