Doug Bruce, Colorado's notorious anti-tax advocate, was found guilty by a Denver jury last December on tax-evasion charges. An indictment filed in April, 2011 (visible below), charged Bruce with evasion of taxes, filing a false tax return, attempting to influence a public servant, and failure to file return or pay tax.
Bruce faced a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison and $700,000 in fines. He also had to turn over his passport at the time as prosecutors believed he was a flight risk.
At sentencing today in court, however, Bruce received far less than the maximum punishment. Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield sentenced him to 6 years of economic probation, including 180-days in jail. Bruce must report to the jail on Friday.
The Gazette reports Bruce intends to appeal, but probation will go into effect immediately. Part of the conditions also include disclosure of all financial dealings to his probation officer, therapy, and covering the cost of the prosecution in his case.
According to the Denver Post, prosecutors say the former lawmaker used his own an anti-tax group, "Active Citizens Together," to disguise his income. From 2005 through 2007, prosecutors believe Bruce funneled his salary as El Paso County commissioner into the group.
He deposited $2 million into an account for the nonprofit, then used interest from the funds as his own. 9News reports the amounts were $38,000 in 2005, $55,000 in 2006, and $85,000 in 2007. During the trial Bruce told reporters he owes $129 in state taxes. Colorado Department of Revenue officials believe the figure is closer to $10,722.
Bruce, the author of Colorado's much contested 1992 Taxpayer's Bill Of Rights (TABOR), has been described as "a cantankerous government gadfly." In 2008, Fox31 reports, Bruce made headlines for kicking a photographer on the floor of Colorado's House of Representatives. He also referred to migrant workers as "illiterate peasants."