Chico business owner found guilty of federal tax crimes

May 27, 2014 6:51 PM

A former Chico florist shop owner was found guilty on multiple counts of federal tax violations today.

After a four-day trial, a federal jury found James O. Molen, 70, of Chico, guilty today on five counts, two counts of filing false liens against federal officers, two counts of contempt, and one count of interference with the administration of tax laws.

Molen ran Touch of Class Florist in Chico, and beginning in 2000, he stopped withholding and paying federal employment and unemployment taxes.

After years of collection efforts by the IRS, Molen filed false liens in 2004 against people who had been involved in his case: two federal judges, the United States Attorney, two Department of Justice attorneys, an IRS officer, and a witness. The liens claimed collateral of more than $93 billion.

Molen ignored several court orders, sent a bogus tax payment to the IRS that he called an “International Bill of Exchange,” and sought to frustrate collections by placing his residence and bank accounts in trusts.

In 2003, Molen told the New York Times, “"They (the government) can take a hike, I do not intend to abide by any command of me, flesh and blood, to do anything.”

This afternoon, Molen was remanded upon conviction. The Judge noted that Molen “thinks the law doesn’t apply to him” and has put “people through the ringer” by filing liens “retaliating against them.”

Molen will be sentenced on August 21, 2014. He faces up to 10 years in prison.


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