Historical Case:
Jerry Marchelletta vs. IRS



“Identified as the most significant appeals win in a tax case in the country in a decade, Robert Barnes’ legal strategy paved the way for another win even in the most difficult of cases. The lesson: there is always a way to win, and never give up.” 

Jerry Marchelletta: A Wrongful Prosecution by the IRS Reversed with Robert Barnes

Jerry Marchelletta
After 10 years of harassment by the IRS, Jerry Marchelletta was finally set free with all charges completely dismissed against him. Along the way, Jerry had to fight wrongful charges of tax evasion, tax fraud and tax conspiracy charges. He and his father faced years in federal prison. To appeal the case, the Marchellettas hired criminal tax defense attorney Robert Barnes, whose appeal to the 11th Circuit Court resulted in all of their convictions being reversed. Jerry Marchelletta and his father were freed and got their lives back.

Need more information? This article provides you:

1. A summation of Jerry Marchelletta’s tax case.

2. How Barnes exposed IRS corruption to win the Marchelletta’s appeal.

3. The four key lessons you can learn to help you defend against false charges by the IRS.

Jerry Marchelletta vs. the IRS

The founder and builder of a father-and-son construction drywall company, Jerry Marchelletta proudly employed hundreds of hardworking people both domestically and abroad, opening up opportunities for women and workers of all races, countries and creeds.

Targeted by the IRS for 10 years during which the IRS threw all available resources into attacking him, Jerry finally found himself wrongfully convicted of tax-evasion charges. Jerry Marchelletta faced years in federal prison and the bankruptcy of the company he had worked so hard to build. Furthermore, a successful appeal was unlikely since the Marchellettas faced the toughest, most pro-government federal appeals court in the country, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Circuit Court had a record of only reversing one in 30 cases a year.

Finally, Jerry Marchelletta reached out to attorney Robert Barnes who had a national reputation for winning “unwinnable cases” against the IRS. Barnes was well known for taking on the federal government prosecutors and IRS special agents in a way that most other “former federal prosecutors” now turned “defense attorney” were not. And, as in previous cases, Barnes and his investigative team did some deep digging into the government witnesses, IRS special agents, the prosecution and even the judge on the case.

The result?

Barnes’ appeal on behalf of Jerry Marchelletta detailed how a perjured government agent, a campaign of lies and bad jury instructions created an unfair trial. The finding of the toughest most pro-government circuit court in the nation? Full reversals on all charges. Jerry and his father were free, cleared of all convictions and they returned to building their successful business.

“The last place I would want to be is on the stand with Barnes cross-examining me.” — a former federal investigator

What are the four Key Lessons You Can Learn From Jerry Marchelletta’s Trial?

There are four important lessons from the Marchelletta tax fraud case that anyone facing federal charges of tax evasion or tax fraud should know:

1. It Ain’t Over — Even When You Can Hear The Fat Lady Sing

First, there is almost always a way to win — so never give up hope. While it is always much easier to stop an IRS criminal investigation the earlier in the process you assert your rights, you can still take action to defend yourself against wrongful IRS tax fraud charges at every single stage of the case, even after a bad verdict. You need to investigate the case fully, understand the IRS criminal investigation process completely, and assert your rights at every single stage.

Which leads us to key lesson number two:

2. Expose IRS Special Agent and Prosecution Corruption

IRS special agents often don’t follow policies and procedures — even those required by law. They often assume guilt, use tricks and chicanery to “prove” their case and force you to prove your innocence. They often fail to obey their own rules in the process. How does that impact your case? Two ways. First, the IRS is in the public relations business. Expose them as the bad actors they often are, and you can force them to stop the case before it goes any further — or even reverse an outcome previously brought about by their bad deeds. Second, by showing IRS misconduct, you show the IRS case against you is not trustworthy, and the federal courts can take this in consideration by reversing a verdict, dismissing a case, or taking other action that leads the federal prosecutors to dismiss all charges against you.

In the Jerry Marchelletta tax-evasion case, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent Patricia Bergstrom and another agent lied to their agency bosses, lied to prosecutors, lied to witnesses, lied to grand juries, lied to judges and lied to the jury. They did it to cover up other lies and deceit — but most importantly to conceal the fact that Jerry Marchelletta was completely innocent of any criminal wrongdoing.

And knowing why the agents had to lie meant knowing something else…

3. Know the Unique Issues in Tax-Evasion Cases

Third, there are unique issues in tax-evasion cases that most lawyers, even criminal defense lawyers, don’t understand, because criminal tax law is not like any other area of law. In fact, even judges are often not aware of how these unique issues impact a case.

In Jerry Marchelletta’s case, the federal judge did not understand these unique issues, leading to a major mistake in the instructions he gave to the jury.

So what happened when Robert Barnes filed the Marchelletta’s appeal to the 11th Circuit Federal District Court?

  • The federal district court freed Jerry Marchelletta during his appeal, an outcome most other lawyers fail to ever obtain for their clients;

  • Then, the court of appeals reversed all the tax-evasion charges against Jerry Marchelletta, with one federal appeals court judge going further to note the outrage Marchelletta was ever prosecuted;

  • And, finally, the government had to dismiss all charges against Jerry.

After this humiliating public loss, the IRS was forced to “resign” the IRS criminal investigation special agent. The prosecutor who tried the case no longer works for the government. And Jerry finally received some of the public vindication that was long overdue.

As popularized in books including John Grisham’s true story “The Innocent Man” and scholastically surveyed in law reviews and respected commentary, the fundamental role of federal courts remains to insure trials with integrity and fairness, so that the true ends of justice are served.

Justice delayed is still better than justice denied. In Jerry Marchelletta’s case, Robert Barnes was the difference in winning.

Are you facing criminal tax fraud or evasion charges?

Do you need to successfully appeal your conviction?
Are you simply in the early stages of an IRS Criminal Investigation
that needs to be stopped before you are indicted?


Robert Barnes works exclusively with a very limited number of clients. Unlike many business law attorneys who work in firms where politics runs rampant and partners play golf while fresh-out-of-law school associates do the work, Barnes invests his total focus on your case. Barnes Law’s team of forensic experts uses technologies and templates like those employed by the CIA and the FBI.


When you call Barnes Law’s office about a legal situation you are facing, Robert Barnes will personally review your case, often during a 30-minute phone call. If accepted as a client, you can expect the entire Barnes Law team to be available to do whatever it takes to protect you and your family.

Your Future. Your Freedom. Your Call.
(213) 330-3341


Are you facing an IRS Criminal Investigation or Tax Fraud Conviction?
Your Future. Your Freedom. Your Call.

(213) 330-3341