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Richmond resident jailed, fined for tax evasion

Eric Ho taught people how to evade taxes, before being caught evading them himself, to the tune of $582,000
Canada Revenue Agency. File photo

A Richmond man who taught people how to evade taxes has been jailed and fined for evading more than $120,000 worth of taxes himself.

Eric Ho - also known as Eric Siu-Kei Ho and Pat Lee - was sentenced to 30 months in jail and fined a total of $122,367 at the BC Provincial Court on Dec. 1.

Ho was first charged in 2012 and failed to appear in court on March 5, 2012 for not reporting taxable income of more than $500,000 and for "counselling others to commit fraud in excess of $5,000," according to a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) media release.

A warrant was then issued for his arrest.

However, the CRA said he "surrendered himself to custody" on Aug. 11 of this year and was granted release on bail on Sept. 1.

He pleaded guilty on Oct. 6 to the two charges and will serve time in jail as well as pay 100 per cent of the tax he evaded ($122,367), the CRA said.

A CRA investigation report found that Ho did not report taxable income of $582,641 for the 2004 through 2008 taxation years.

He was also an "educator" with the Paradigm Education Group, a "fraudulent scheme that counselled people across Canada to evade taxes," reads the media release.

Ho "taught" people to evade taxes and received income from his work with Paradigm. The agency described Ho and Paradigm as "tax protestors," a term used for people who claim to be exempt from taxation.

"From 2002 to 2010, Mr. Ho taught interested individuals, known as 'students,' the Paradigm theory which is based on the faulty premise that if an individual declares themselves as a 'natural person' they do not become a taxpayer under the Income Tax Act," according to the media release.

"Mr. Ho received income in his role as an 'educator,' including through Paradigm materials sold, which included DVDs, CDs and books, on how to structure one’s affairs according to Paradigm theory."

The CRA is reminding Canadians to be wary of "tax protestors" trying to convince the public they do not have to pay tax on earned income.

Between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2022, there were 15 convictions related to tax protestors, resulting in a total of $1,971,120 in fines and almost 30 years of jail time given to the public, according to the CRA.

The court can order fines between 50 per cent and 200 per cent of the tax evaded, and a jail term of up to five years for tax evasion and up to 14 years for tax fraud.