Monday, October 23, 2006
Wife of Ex-Gubernatorial Candidate Gets Probation in Tax Scheme
By Kenneth Ofgang, Staff Writer
The wife of a one-time gubernatorial candidate convicted tax evader today was placed on three years’ probation Friday and ordered to pay more than $437,000 in restitution for her role in the filing of false state income tax returns, the Franchise Tax Board said in a release.
Trina Jesson, 43, was involved with her husband, George H. (Nick) Jesson, in a promotion questioning the legality of withholding personal income taxes, the board said. . Nick Jesson is currently in federal prison in Lompoc after pleading guilty to federal and state tax charges.
The Jessons owned and operated three corporations in Huntington Beach: Capacitor Specialist International, Inc., No Time Delay Electronics, Inc., and C&D Electronics, Inc. Tax officials said the Jessons failed to report more than $2.9 million from these corporations on their state income tax returns for 1997-1999 by zeroing out the amount fields on their tax returns.
The Jessons claimed that withholding personal income taxes violated the Constitution, and that their employees could request to have no tax withheld from their paychecks. Nick Jesson and others caught the attention of tax officials when they placed an ad in USA Today saying they would not withhold taxes from employee paychecks.
“The courts routinely strike down frivolous anti-tax arguments like this and others,” the FTB pointed out.
Trina Jesson was ordered by Orange Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseno to pay restitution to the FTB of $437,611 including tax, penalties, and interest. A hearing on the cost of the investigation is scheduled for Dec. 15.
“Underreporting of income is part of the $6.5 billion tax gap now facing California,” the board said. “The tax gap is defined as the difference between the tax that is due and the tax that is paid. Anyone who suspects tax fraud can report it by calling the FTB at (800) 540-3453.”
Nick Jesson ran for governor in the 2002 Republican primary on an anti-tax, anti-abortion, pro-gun platform, receiving 17,281 votes to 1,012,428 for the winner, Bill Simon. Jesson, representing himself, challenged Simon’s nomination, along with the renomination by the Democrats of then-Gov. Gray Davis, saying they violated state law by failing to swear that they were not, and had not for the last five years been, members of an organization that advocates the violent overthrow of the government.
A Superior Court judge threw out the challenge, and the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed in an opinion by Presiding Justice David Sills of Div. Three, who noted that the state Supreme Court had struck that portion of the oath as unconstitutional in 1967 following similar rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As a result, Sills noted, no gubernatorial candidate had sworn to the language from the time of Ronald Reagan’s reelection in 1970 until Jesson, filing for the 2002 contest, typed it in.
“Although the Governor and his challenger disagree on many issues, on one point they agree—this is a frivolous lawsuit,” the presiding justice wrote. “And, they are right.”
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company