Too clever by half

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published August 25, 2017

Too clever by half

Prominent tax avoider Winston Shrout, 69, was convicted recently on 13 fraud counts and six of "willful" failure to file federal returns during 2009 to 2014.

This, despite his clever defense, which jurors in Portland, Oregon, apparently ignored.

Shrout, through seminars and publications, had created a cottage industry teaching ways to beat the tax code, but had managed always to slyly mention that his tips were "void where prohibited by law" (to show that he lacked the requisite "intent" to commit crimes).

Among Shrout's schemes: He once sent homemade "International Bills of Exchange" to a small community bank in Chicago apparently hoping the bank would carelessly launder them into legal currency, but (in violation of the "keep a low profile" rule) he had given each IBE a face value of $1 trillion.