Joe Banister’s acquittal on all felony charges brought against him by the IRS shook the federal government and became one of the highest-profile losses by the IRS.
In this article, his attorney Robert Barnes describes:
1. How Joseph Banister became one of the most respected IRS criminal investigative agents in the USA.
2. Why Joe Banister was targeted by the IRS for blowing the whistle on IRS malfeasance.
3. How Joe became a target of the Department of Justice
4. The strategy Robert Barnes used to ensure Banister’s acquittal.
5. Why this case matters to you and what you can do if you are facing a similar situation.
Before Joe Banister became a long-standing Internal Revenue Service agent, he grew up a conservative kid whose sense of duty and honor was important. Most of his family, including his brothers, ended up in public service or public safety. Joe Banister wanted to be an FBI agent growing up. He became an accountant, instead, and ended up as an IRS law enforcement agent. Joe Banister became one of the most well commended, honored and respected criminal investigative agents in the country.
Joe Banister discovered in the late 1990s major issues and problems with the way the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigative Division was operating. Joe Banister asked that the IRS address his concerns. Banister asked his superiors, many of whom had great respect for him, to address his concerns. His concerns were met — with word from the people at the highest levels of the IRS that he should resign or be terminated. Banister resigned and went public with concerns that ultimately aired were by talk radio stations, television networks and news commentators all across the country. Banister even landed on “60 minutes II,” where some of his concerns brought the Internal Revenue Service into question and public doubt.
From the time Joe Banister appeared on “60 minutes II,” he became the target of focus of high-ranking officials within the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice. First, they went after Joe Banister by trying to prohibit him from representing practitioners before the Internal Revenue Service pursuant to something called circular 230. Circular 230 was, in fact, originally created by Congress so that ordinary Americans could have an expanded group of people to represent them and defend them before the IRS. Right now, the people who can appear on your behalf include your fiduciary, your accountant, and your attorney whose licensure in each independent state gives them the right to appear before the Internal Revenue Service. Congress wanted to expand that to include a group called enrolled agents. These enrolled agents are specially trained in various aspects of representing the people before the IRS. But because they were not licensed by the Supreme Court of the states or by the board of accountancy for any state, there was a special director of practice or office of professional responsibility created within the IRS to regulate the enrolled agents. The IRS being the IRS decided to expand that and interpreted it as a license to regulate everybody who had a license anywhere who could possibly ever appear before the IRS.
One of the first test cases was against Joe Banister. In Joe Banister’s proceedings, the IRS attempted to deny him all discovery, attempted to deny Joe his right to subpoena information that would support his case, denied Banister the right to call witnesses on his own behalf, and denied Joe Banister the right to appear on his own behalf and testify for himself. Originally the IRS scheduled his hearing before the Office of Professional Responsibility on a military island that was a secure and located inside the San Francisco Bay.
Joe Banister was acquitted on all charges because of attorney Robert Barnes‘ strength in putting the IRS on trial before the jury. Another loss for the IRS. Another win for Barnes’ clients.
Joe Banister reached out to me because of my history and experience in winning difficult cases in difficult circumstances, applying unique insights to each individual case and dedicating my time exclusively and with priority to the select set of clients I represent. The combination of skill set, client self-selection, and dedicated outcomes is what led Joe Banister to hire me and what led to the outcome I was able to obtain for Joe Banister. Ultimately we navigated through that entire regulatory IRS process and the California Board of Accountancy process in a manner that protected Joe Banister’s rights and remedies when and if a criminal case was brought — and we believed a criminal case was intended by the United States Department of Justice. The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Joe Banister, charging him with conspiracy to defraud the United States Government and other alleged charges of tax fraud and tax crimes.
Joe Banister’s jury had to be carefully managed in the jury selection process in order for Joe Banister to receive a fair, honest and independent jury of his peers. A jury that was fair, honest and independent just as he was. We were able to utilize the motion practice and what is called Voir Dire (a Latin term for speak the truth) so that the jury could disclose whether the jury had any biases or prejudices so that a fair and independent jury could be selected. We presented a case and a closing argument centered on the question “What side is the con on.”
When we hear the words conspiracy to defraud the first three letters are con, and really that’s what the IRS and Department of Justice were accusing Joe Banister of. The IRS and the Department of Justice were accusing Joe Banister of trying to pull a con on other people — when in fact the con was what the United States government was trying to do to the jury in relation to Joe Banister. Joe Banister is a man of sincerity, a man of conscience, a man who would follow his conscience where he had to. Joe Banister is a man whose reputation and history was one that warranted respect and recognition — not criminal sanction or prosecution. This was the message sent to the jury. Which side is the con on? Who is it that has been behaving deceptively? Who is behaving in misleading way? Who is trying to trick the jury? The reality was that it was the United States Department of Justice and the IRS. Joe Banister had been open, honest and sincere throughout the entire process. In the end, the jury came back and acquitted Joe Banister of every single criminal charge against him.
With this outcome, Joe Banister became part of one of the highest-profile acquittals in the nation covered by various talk radio stations and newspapers including the New York Times. The result for Joe Banister was important for a lot of people beyond Joe Banister. The U.S. government was shown it could not utilize the criminal prosecution process in a case Robert Barnes represented — without running the risk of high-profile acquittals. Banister’s victory sent the message that the United States government should not prosecute people because of innocent errors, and should only prosecute those people who truly try to commit cons on others. Joe Banister did not commit the con. The IRS committed the con. That is why Joe Banister was acquitted and that’s why the acquittal meant so much for so many Americans.
Against most lawyers the IRS has a 90 percent win rate — but not against Robert Barnes. For the full details on how Barnes may be the defense attorney you need to avoid fines, penalties, and/or a prison sentence <<< click there.
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