Major Cases

Government Accusation

Results

Accusation

The owner of a ladies’ lingerie store was accused of income tax evasion by the revenue agent who referred her case to IRS Criminal Investigation which recommended three separate five-year felonies and a million dollars in penalties and interest. According to IRS the bookkeeper, the CPA, and the client “all pointed at each other.” During a civil audit, the client’s CPA blamed the client, while she was simultaneously representing the client, and the client’s bookkeeper blamed both the CPA and the client. The CPA cooperated with IRS against her client claiming (while simultaneously being paid by the client) it was in the client’s best interest.

Result

The criminal investigation was dropped. Civil penalties were dropped. A suit was filed against the CPA and the bookkeeper. The CPA’s insurance company settled for an undisclosed amount, the weekend before the trial started. (A confidentiality agreement precludes disclosure). A judgment of 2 million dollars was rendered against the bookkeeper in 2018.

Accusation

The Government accused Justin Smith of violating Federal Excise tax laws in his Jet airplane leasing company. They also falsely accused him of destroying records. He was raided three times, and the Government refused to share the affidavits used to support the raids.

Result

In the landmark opinion United States v. Sealed Search Warrants, 868 F.3d 385 (5th Cir. 2017), the 5th Circuit joined the 4th Circuit, and the Government was ordered on February 2, 2018, to turn over the three affidavits in Justin Smith’s case.

Nothing in any of the affidavits indicated that bank records were being destroyed. The Government’s claim was walked back to argue that “records were moved.” There was no evidence of Tax violations found in the affidavits.

Accusation

Government indicted successful Lake Michigan Marina Owner on four counts of income tax evasion with a maximum potential sentence of 20 years and hefty fines. Location: Marquette, Michigan (U.S. v. Matteson).

Result

Not guilty all counts.  No prison time. 

Accusation

1,300 airline pilots were accused of tax evasion and filing fraudulent returns.  Five pilots were chosen to represent the entire group in trial, called Test Case Petitioners.  The pilots faced possible criminal prosecution and bankruptcy, and tax debts which most would never be able to discharge or pay off in their lifetimes, leaving the debt to their estates. Their credit and reputations were destroyed.  The two leading lawyers for the IRS, Sims and McWade, were given bonuses for their outstanding work in prosecuting the pilots.  Jurisdiction: Hawaii, Washington, DC, Oregon, Arizona, Tax Court, California.  The Tax Court ordered over a billion dollars in taxes and penalties. (Dixon v. Commissioner of the IRS; Arkansas Bar v. Sims, Oregon v. McWade, IRS Director of Practice v. Sims and McWade).

Result

Minns was hired to handle the appeal. The IRS was found guilty of fraudulent conduct by the ninth circuit court of appeals.  The pilots received hundreds of millions in refunds and an additional judgment against the government. The two lawyers for the IRS (Sims and McWade) were suspended indefinitely by the IRS director of practice. To date, these are the only two IRS lawyers suspended and disbarred for work done for the IRS in US history.  This is also the largest test case petitioner reversal in US history.  The pilots were exonerated.

Accusation

A successful antiques investor, also inventor of an American crossbow weapon and a blow gun device, was charged with three counts of filing false tax returns with gross proceeds alleged to be missing. He was facing a total of 15 years in prison. The factory that built his inventions would close down without him, and he was the sole source of support for his elderly mother and mentally disadvantaged brother. Jurisdiction: Utah. (U.S. v. Hanson).

Result

Not guilty all counts. No time in prison.

Accusation

In what the IRS called the largest prosecution case in the history of the agency, a minister and his wife were charged with 64 felonies and faced the possibility of 180 combined years in prison. Their car and home had been seized by the government. Raids were conducted in three countries and a dozen states simultaneously, using over 10% of the special agents employed by IRS. Of an original defense list of ten defendants, all ten were convicted and sentenced. Before Minns got involved, both the minister and his wife had previously lost their cases and were sentenced to long prison terms. Jurisdiction: Seattle, WA and Costa Rica. (U.S. v. James and Pamela Moran).

Result

The conviction against the Minister and his wife was reversed and a new trial ordered.  Michael Minns was appointed by the Federal court to represent the defense in a second trial.  The Morans were found not guilty on all 64 counts, the largest number of offshore acquittals in a single trial for a single family. They spent no time in prison, and their home and car were returned to them.

Accusation

The CEO of a public tech company was accused of both income tax evasion and failing to file. He faced six years in federal prison, hefty fines, and the destruction of the company. Jurisdiction: Dallas, TX. (U.S. v. Squires).

Result

Not guilty on both charges. No time in prison. Stock value of company at present has tripled.

Accusation

A construction supervisor and successful restaurateur, born on a Native American reservation in Washington in a one bedroom home with eight brothers and sisters, was accused of filing false returns and false offers in compromise with the IRS. He faced 8 felony counts and 32 years in prison; his wife faced 4 felony counts and 12 years in prison. Jurisdiction: Phoenix, AZ, Belize, and Oklahoma. (U.S. v. Parker Part One, U.S. v. Parker Part Two).

Result

Not guilty on all eight counts for husband. All charges dismissed against wife.

Accusation

A father and son tax preparation team were accused of 30 felonies and faced 94 years in prison. They were charged with conspiracy and filing false tax returns for clients. Jurisdiction: Dallas, TX. (U.S. v. Buford).

Result

Not guilty on all counts. No time in prison.

Accusation

A major contractor in New York faced three felony counts of income tax evasion and 15 years in prison plus loss of civil rights and passport. Jurisdiction: New York.

Result

Not guilty on all felony counts. One misdemeanor count, with three months sleeping in a half-way house at night, working during the day at his normal job. Kept all civil rights and passport.

Accusation

A housewife accused of murdering the Sheriff of Lawrence County. Faced life in prison. Jurisdiction: Arkansas. (Arkansas v. Ginter)

Result

Client was found not guilty and was not sentenced to any jail time. (She spent a year in prison without bond before her day in court, as she had been arrested before Minns ever met her.)

Accusation

A security guard was charged with killing his best friend due to an argument. Jurisdiction: Texas. (Texas v. White)

Result

Client was found not guilty and was not sentenced to any jail time.

Accusation

A Polish immigrant who became successful in the US was accused of tax irregularities, faced a $100 million assessment with the IRS. She also had to battle a Belize citizen who had gotten title to her assets and several stepchildren who contested her entire estate. Jurisdiction: Illinois, Texas, Tax Court, and Belize. (Confidential; not public)

Result

No criminal charges were filed and the client did not spend any time in prison. The IRS agreed to settle for 5% of the assessment claimed. The verdict in the Belize court was for the client, who was also victorious in the probate court against the stepchildren.

Accusation

Friend of the family accused of fraudulent deductions in tax planning. Jurisdiction: California Tax Court.

Result

Client was found not guilty of committing fraud and did not owe any taxes.

Accusation

World War II veteran faced three counts of failure to file. Jurisdiction: Honolulu, Hawaii. (U.S. v. DeRoy)

Result

Client was sentenced to probation and did not have to serve any jail time.

Accusation

A contractor was accused of failure to file. Jurisdiction: Alaska.

Result

Client was sentenced to probation and did not have to serve any jail time.

Accusation

DOJ authorized prosecution for felony tax evasion charges against a Nevada realtor after DOJ conference in Washington. The realtor was facing 10 years in prison. Jurisdiction: Nevada.

Result

Case dismissed without going to court. There was no trial and the client served no prison time.

Accusation

DOJ authorized prosecution for felony tax evasion charges against the owner of a pain management clinic in Florida. The client was facing 15 years in prison. Jurisdiction: Florida.

Result

Case dismissed without going to court. There was no trial and the client served no prison time.

Accusation

DOJ authorized prosecution for felony tax evasion charges after DOJ conference in Washington for a psychologist, facing 15 years in prison. Jurisdiction: Arizona and Hawaii.

Result

Case dismissed without going to court. There was no trial and the client served no prison time.

Accusation

The mother and daughter of a Vietnam vet were charged with assault on a peace officer during a tax collection “visit.” Prior to Minns’ involvement, both had been convicted and sentenced to six months. They spent one night in prison after arrest. Jurisdiction: Massachusetts.

Result

Minns took over and obtained a new trial. Both women were found not guilty and served no time in prison.

Accusation

The owner of a farming equipment supply company was charged with two counts of bribing a federal officer. Faced 10 years in prison. Jurisdiction: Alabama.

Result

Both charges were dismissed. The client was found not guilty and served no prison time.

Accusation

A public technology company in Houston accused of not filing taxes. The IRS put a lien on the company and threatened to close them down. Jurisdiction: Houston, TX.

Result

Lien dismissed.

Accusation

A milkman in New Jersey charged with four counts of not paying or filing income taxes. Jurisdiction: New Jersey.

Result

The first trial ended with a hung jury. A second jury dismissed three counts. The fourth count was probated and the client served no jail time.

Accusation

The largest rap recording studio in Houston was sued for assault, sexual harassment, and sexual discrimination by a serial litigator who had won all previous cases against others. Jurisdiction: Houston, TX.

Result

After 15 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Minns’ client not guilty of all charges.

Accusation

A Florida businessman was charged with not filing taxes for two years. Jurisdiction: Florida.

Result

Client was found not guilty on both counts and did not serve any jail time.

Accusation

An Irish immigrant working as an electrician and truck driver did not want to do business with IRS because he thought they were a terrorist organization like the IRA in Ireland. He was charged with three counts of tax evasion and faced 15 years in prison. Jurisdiction: Houston, TX and New Orleans, LA. (U.S. v. Doyle).

Result

Client was found not guilty of all felony charges. He plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge and served one year in prison.

Accusation

An air traffic controller was charged with evading income taxes for three years. He faced 15 years in prison. He was two years away from earning his pension and a felony conviction would have prevented that. Jurisdiction: Fort Worth, TX.

Result

Client was found not guilty of all felony charges.

Accusation

A Vietnamese immigrant was accused of writing a hot check and faced six months in prison. Jurisdiction: Texas. (Texas v. Ngo)

Result

Client was found not guilty and did not serve any jail time. He went on to sue the person who filed the hot check charges for abuse of process and won a $165,000 judgment.

Accusation

A single parent working as a coalmine engineer in London, Kentucky was indicted for not filing tax returns for four years and faced four years in prison. Jurisdiction: Kentucky. (US v. Laschon)

Result

Client was found not guilty on all counts and did not serve any jail time.

Accusation

The owner of a tie beam company in the “cowboy capital” of the world was charged in three separate counties with three crimes: stealing materials, assaulting a peace officer, and moving stolen goods between counties.  He was also charged with violating his probation on another unrelated case.  He was incarcerated pending trial.  Venue: Bandera, Texas. (Texas v. Breeland)

Result

After a twenty-hour revocation hearing in Bandera,  Texas (which finished at 4:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning), the client was released on bond.  He was later found not guilty on all three charges in all three counties.  He filed a civil rights suit against the officer he allegedly assaulted, but who in fact had assaulted him.  The civil rights suit, in Federal Court, was settled for a confidential amount.

Accusation

The executrix of an estate claimed that the decedent had been fatally shot by his son-in-law, and that prior to his death, he had disinherited the son-in-law and grandson.  Venue: Harris County, Texas. The Estate of Cash.

Result

The jury found that the shot had been fired in an effort to save the father-in-law, not harm him, and that the new will had been written with undue influence.  The new will was tossed out and the grandson was re-inherited.

Accusation

A small utility company was charged with destroying a well that competed with the water utilities, allegedly trespassing on the property in order to cement the well in.  The utility company offered a $250,000 settlement which the plaintiff refused.  Venue:  Harris County, Texas.

Result

The jury found that the utility company had destroyed a bad well with harmful mistreated water, and therefore their actions were justified.

Accusation

The owner of a company that produces a nationally recognized brand of car wax accused two former workers of violating their agreements, and one of slandering him.

Result

The first worker forced his accuser into a receivership, causing him to file bankruptcy.  A confidential settlement agreement was reached. The second worker sued for sexual harassment, and also proved that the claims made against the character of the company owner were true, he was an abuser.  The car wax was taken out of nearly all stores.  The second worker also reached a confidential settlement agreement, and Michael Minns signed a written agreement that after the checks cleared, he would not represent anyone else bringing suit against the car wax salesman for five years.

Accusation

A decorated veteran’s First Amendment rights were challenged when he placed a flag on his property for Veterans Day.  His subdivision accused him of violating its deed restrictions and filed suit.

Result

A pro bono defense won the veteran the right to display his American flag whenever he chose.  He continued to do so on Veterans Day and Independence Day every year for the remainder of his life. A pro bono defense won the veteran the right to display his American flag whenever he chose.  He continued to do so on Veterans Day and Independence Day every year for the remainder of his life.

Accusation

The owner of a major rap studio was accused of carrying a firearm into a restaurant.  Venue:  Harris County, Texas.

Result

The defendant did not have a firearm on his person while in the restaurant, but did have firearms in his vehicle to protect a large sum of money he was transporting after an event.  The police had been called to search a large African-American man wearing a sweater.  In fact, the rap studio owner was a small African-American man wearing a suit…but he was searched anyway.  When no weapon was found, the police searched his vehicle. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

Accusation

A citizen accused of income tax evasion and shooting at an IRS agent with intent to cause grievous bodily harm faced over 20 years in prison.  Venue:  Federal Court, New York. (U.S. v. Woods)

Result

The agent was not shot and was unharmed.  The case was settled for one count of failure to file with a maximum sentence of one year in prison.  The evasion charges were dismissed.

Accusation

A member of the Ku Klux Klan assisted a marijuana farmer in growing crops on land he allegedly purchased from the descendant of slaves, who had purchased the land in 1896. The county, with the help of the sheriff and the district attorney, seized the property. However the rightful owner, a retired schoolteacher, had not received a single payment for her land.  She was also being sued by three districts for taxes on the land she was never paid for. (Lillie Mae Paley Burns v. “Citizen”)

Result

Judgment restoring the land to the lawful owner.

Accusation

A family member of a famous 60s singer was threatened with a shotgun, forcing her to desert her property.  The man threatening her used her property as a landfill, and used racist words to describe his “meeting” with her.  At the time of litigation he was in adverse possession of her property, having moved the road allowing her access to her property.   Venue:  Waller County, Texas. (Dobie Grey v. “Citizen”)

Result

The man threatening her settled for a confidential amount.  The road was permanently reopened (after Minns’ wife bulldozed the fence blocking access, being impatient to await court orders) by court order.

Accusation

First potential Hispanic fire fighter in the history of the city of Houston was originally denied a job, although he was a military fire fighter during Vietnam.  He was also denied promotions and denied the right to make extra money at the Houston Rodeo, an event much treasured by civil servants.

Result

After passing the civil service exam again, the firefighter was hired and ultimately rose to the rank of assistant chief. He was also awarded pay for the failure to allow him to work the rodeo event.

Accusation

A former heavyweight boxer nearing the end of his career as a deputy sheriff was caught off-guard by a cop killer while working prison duty. The deputy’s weapon was taken away and a sheet thrown over his head.  When the sheet was removed he saw his own pistol aimed at his face.  The prison phone rang, distracting the prisoner long enough for the deputy to throw one punch.  The prisoner’s nose was smashed into his head, rendering him unconscious and causing trauma.  The deputy was charged with abuses against the prisoner and threatened with the loss of his pension after twenty years on the job.  Harris County, Texas.

Result

Charges dismissed. Pension granted.

Accusation

The client, the owner of a roofing company, was driving his daughter to elementary school when a loud and obnoxious driver tailgated him in the school zone.  He got out of the car and asked the other driver to cool off. Instead, the other driver cursed out the client loud enough for his daughter to hear it in the car several feet away.  The client punched the abusive driver in the face, knocking him unconscious.  The client was charged with assault.  Venue:  Montgomery County, Texas.

Result

Not guilty.

Accusation

A citizen mislead by tax propaganda fails to file returns for four years, and is charged with four failure to file charges worth four years in prison.  (U.S. v. Oliver)

Result

Not guilty.

Accusation

Melvin Meyer, a buttoned-down lawyer from downtown firm Bayko, Gibson, Carnegie, Hagan, Schoonmaker & Meyer, LLP, sued Melissa Brown, a former topless dancer, claiming she had taken property from him and defamed him.  Meyer had given Brown his firm’s laptop computer (without the firm’s knowledge). He wanted the laptop back because it contained client information.   The firm’s clients included Halliburton and Crown Petroleum, among others. (Melvin Michael Meyer v. Melissa Brown)  Jurisdiction: Houston, TX. (Melvin Michael Meyer v. Melissa Brown).

Result

Ms. Brown filed a counterclaim for legal malpractice and assault. Mr. Meyer’s claim for his laptop and defamation were dismissed by operation of law when he filed for bankruptcy on the day of jury selection without informing either the trial court or his own attorney.  The only thing left to litigate was the counterclaim filed by Ms. Brown.   A confidential settlement was reached, the law firm broke up, and Ms. Brown kept the laptop computer.

Accusation

Ms. Anderson, a married woman seeking divorce, was the custodial parent for both her biological daughter and her step-daughter (her husband had a child from a prior relationship).  Her divorce attorney, while still representing her, entered into a partnership with her husband’s divorce attorney.  He never informed Ms. Anderson he was working with her husband’s lawyer while simultaneously handling her case and, unsurprisingly, obtained a very bad result in her divorce.  Jurisdiction: Denton County, TX.

Result

The divorce lawyer was sued for legal malpractice and ultimately his insurance company paid out the entire policy for his “indiscretion.” Ms. Anderson hired an honest attorney (Mike Ware) to reform the divorce decree.  He successfully won a better judgment.

* If a trial occurred, the client approves, and personal information is publicly available – it is cited here.  On occasion confidentiality precludes the use of names.  A far more substantial list of cases is discussed in Minns’ books and law journal articles