Arkansas Private Banking System Barred from Operating by Federal Court

WASHINGTON - A federal judge in Fayetteville, Ark., has barred Wayne Hicks and his company, My Icis Inc., from operating a private banking system that allegedly helped customers avoid taxes by shielding their identities and other financial transactions from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Justice Department announced today. Hicks and My Icis agreed to the injunction order. Hicks is serving a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.

According to the government complaint in the civil injunction case, Hicks owned and operated My Icis, Inc., a Berryville, Ark., company that helped customers set up purportedly anonymous bank accounts to hide their identities, income and other financial transactions, including deposits, wire transfers and bill payments. According to the complaint, Hicks admitted in his criminal case that My Icis helped customers "get out of the traditional banking system and successfully shield their financial transactions from the government, more specifically the IRS, and thereby avoid paying federal income taxes." Hicks also admitted that, from 2003 through 2006, his customers deposited approximately $100 million in his banking system. Hicks promoted his scheme through Web sites, seminars and online newsletters.

According to the complaint, Hicks also promoted his banking system at Pinnacle Quest International (PQI) seminars in 2005 in the Mexican resorts of Cancun and Ixtapa. On March 31, 2010, eight people associated with PQI were convicted of tax, wire fraud and money laundering charges by a federal jury following a month-long trial in Pensacola, Fla. The United States also obtained a civil injunctionagainst PQI and its principals on May 16, 2008.

John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, thanked Grayson Hoffman, the Justice Department trial attorney who handled the case, and Sean Flannery, the IRS revenue agent who conducted the investigation.

In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained more than 465 injunctions against tax fraud promoters and dishonest tax return preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department’s Web Site.