CHICO, Calif. - The former owner of a Chico floral shop could spend the next ten years in prison.
Tuesday a federal jury found James Molen, 70, guilty of five charges, including two counts of filing false liens against federal officers, two counts of contempt, and one count of interference with the administration of tax laws.
Prosecutors say Molen, who ran Touch of Class florist in Chico, stopped withholding and paying federal employment and unemployment taxes. He then filed false liens against officials involved in the investigation against him. The collateral claimed on those liens totaled $93 billion.
U.S. attorneys say Molen ignored several court orders, sent a bogus tax payment to the IRS that he called an "International Bill of Exchange," and sought to frustrate collections by placing his residence and bank accounts in trusts.
Molen is scheduled to be sentenced August 21. He faces up to 10 years in prison.