If you watch any of the cable networks during the day, as I do (hey, I’m a cartoonist – it’s OK), you’ve come across one of those low budget TaxMasters ads. You know, the one where the grisly red-bearded sooth sayer offers to stand up to the IRS on your behalf.
Well, you might want to think twice before seeking tax advice from the equivalent of the ShamWow guy. TaxMasters and its bearded pitchman were convicted this week of defrauding customers and ordered to pay $195 million.
The familiar bearded TV pitchman for TaxMasters – Patrick Cox – is personally on the hook for nearly $46 million. The verdict also included an order for the firm to repay customers more than $113 million, but there’s a snag – TaxMasters filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection one day before the trial was set to begin.
Graduates faced with crushing student loan debt can’t turn to bankruptcy for relief, but crooks like this can? Just more of that “American Exceptionalism” you hear so much about.
In addition, CNN, msnbc and Fox News, among others, were shafted to the tune of more than $5 million by the huckster. The largest creditor is CNN, which it owes $2.6 million. They owe Fox News nearly $1 million and msnbc $260,000. Others stiffed include History, Discovery and The Weather Channel.
Cox is also major contributor to Gov. Rick Perry, donating $100,000 to the Republican governor’s re-election campaign back in 2010. Oops.