SARASOTA COUNTY - IRS special agents arrested a Sarasota man on Thursday on charges he made more than $2 million peddling anti-tax schemes that ultimately cost the government as much as $18 million.
Carel "Chad" A. Prater advertised his Tax Escape Service in Sarasota County and across the country, telling customers that income earned in the United States is not taxable, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.
Prater filed almost 1,300 documents in Sarasota County courts that he falsely claimed would legally remove his customers from the tax system, according to a Justice Department lawsuit against him.
Prater also told his customers to stop filing income tax returns and paying federal income tax, and helped set up businesses for them to transfer funds to avoid taxes, the indictment states.
IRS agents estimated the potential damage caused by Prater and his associates at $18 million, according to records filed as part of a lawsuit.
In 2005, a federal judge permanently barred Prater and another local man from advising people on how to avoid taxes.
Prater hopes to be out on bail in time for his next scheduled seminar on Wednesday, to be held at an undisclosed location. Special guest speakers to include Larry Nardelli and, via teleconferencing call from New York, Art Nadel, who is unable to attend in person due to pressing business concerns. Also on the dais will be local businessman, Dennis Kim, addressing the topic, "How To Negotiate Lower Insurance Premiums For Your Business."
Prater has also announced that his company name will change from 'Tax Escape Service' to 'Prison Escape Service.'
"I'm Wesley Snipes and I approved this message."