Two Maine men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Portland on charges  of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. 

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The U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday that 70-year-old  F. William Messier and 75-year-old  David E. Robinson, both of Brunswick, are scheduled to appear in court next week.

According to court documents, Messier has not filed a federal income tax return since 1997.  The IRS assessed taxes, interest and penalties against Messier totaling $172,000 for the years 2000 to 2004.  Messier also earned more than $390,000 in gross income from renting antennae space on radio communication towers that he owned, according to the court documents.

The indictment alleges that after the IRS sent Notices of Levy to Messier’s customers, Robinson and Messier took a number of steps to obstruct the IRS, including presenting the IRS with a fake money order for the amount of taxes due, and sending threatening documents to Messier’s customers urging them not to cooperate with the IRS.

David E. Robinson claims to be the “Interim Attorney General” of the “Maine Republic Free State.”   Previously, Robinson and Messier had filed an 89-page complaint in Maine Superior Court contending that the federal income tax is not binding and the IRS has no authority to levy the tax.

Messier faces up to 13 years in prison and fines totaling $1,000,000 if convicted on all counts.  Robinson faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says the defendants are scheduled to appear in District Court in Portland on Friday, September 5.