British Columbia

B.C. man on run for a decade sentenced to 2½ years in jail for role in 'tax protester' scheme

A Richmond, B.C., man has been sentenced to 2½ years in jail and must pay more than $120,000 as part of a bogus tax evasion group that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been after for nearly two decades.

Canada Revenue Agency says Eric Ho, who was fined $122K in taxes payable, was part of Paradigm Education Group

The CRA says Eric Ho was an 'educator' with the Paradigm Education Group, a fraudulent scheme that counselled people across Canada to evade taxes by declaring themselves as a 'natural person.' (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

A Richmond, B.C., man has been sentenced to 2½ years in jail for his role as part of a bogus tax evasion group that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been after for nearly two decades.

The CRA said in a release that Eric Ho — also known as Eric Siu-Kei Ho and Pat Lee — was sentenced in provincial court to 30 months and fined $122,367, the amount of taxes the agency said he evaded between 2004 and 2008.

The agency says Ho was an "educator" with the Paradigm Education Group, a fraudulent scheme that counselled people across Canada to evade taxes by declaring themselves as a "natural person."

Followers of such "tax protester schemes," the CRA says, are told they are exempt from the authority of government, laws and the courts; if they want to avoid paying taxes or obtaining their driver's licence, for example, they simply need to learn the right words and phrases.

Dozens of people have been charged and fined in relation to Paradigm over the past decade.

The CRA said Ho had been on the run for 10 years after failing to attend his first court appearance.

This summer he surrendered himself to authorities and was granted release on bail Sept. 1 according to the CRA.

A CRA investigation revealed that Ho failed to report his taxable income of $582,641 for the 2004-08 taxation years, and evaded $122,367 in taxes payable.

The agency is warning Canadians to be wary of schemes that try to convince others they do not have to pay tax on earned incomes.

"For those involved in tax protester schemes, the CRA will reassess income tax, charge interest and impose penalties," it said in the release.

The CRA said there had been 15 convictions related to tax protesters between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2022.

Those convictions resulted in nearly $2 million in court-imposed fines and 30 years of jail time, it said.

With files from Bethany Lindsay

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now