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Troy Beam makes effort to reduce jail time

  • By Barbara Phillips Long, Shippensburg Bureau Chief
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Troy Beam has offered to evangelize for the IRS by creating a YouTube video, writing another book and speaking out about his experiences in an effort to reduce his possible jail time for tax evasion in 2011.

The Shippensburg man was convicted in federal court in 2011 and his sentencing was set for Friday, Jan. 13, but has been postponed to April 10.

Defense's view

In making Beam's argument, filings by his lawyers say, "An extended incarceration will literally make the Beam family wards of the state and be forced to seek public assistance."

The lawyers argue that "Even though Mr. Beam is not elderly or infirm," the law "allows for a sentence of home confinement to be imposed if such punishment could be as effective as and less costly than incarceration when the defendant is old or sickly."

They say "it is logical to provide for home confinement in this situation." Beam is 48 years old.

The documents include a report by Dr. Enos D. Martin, a board-certified psychiatrist, who says the Beam family "will best be served if he can be released with a ‘time-served' sentence to do community service and to work at paying off the taxes he owes. This will allow Mr. Beam to effective(ly) participate in parenting his children."

Being in prison "has had a salutary and sobering effect on Mr. Beam and his entire family," Martin wrote. "Mr. Beam has now given evidence of a transformation in his thinking."

A prison reform organization, Justice and Mercy, is interested in the Beam case, Martin wrote, and he endorses their proposals.

Justice and Mercy recommends Beam be allowed to stay with his family and be required to pay back the taxes he owes and perform community service instead of being imprisoned.

Prosecutors' view

In response, prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg note that Beam was convicted on all six counts filed against him - one count of obstructing the IRS, one count of evading taxes from 1992-98 and four counts of failing to file a tax return for 2003-06.

"An acceptance of responsibility reduction (in sentencing) ‘is not intended to apply to a defendant who puts the government to its burden of proof at trial by denying the essential factual elements of guilt, is convicted, and only then admits guilt and expresses remorse,'" their filing says.

They argue that Beam's family circumstances are not extraordinary and "all defendants have families; any time a defendant is incarcerated it presents difficult challenges for the family."

The prosecutors say that the likelihood of the Beam family requiring public assistance "flies in the face of the evidence presented at trial regarding the vast resources available to Mr. and Mrs. Beam, including numerous properties and funds held in various bank accounts, including some in foreign countries. Certainly, the Beams collect regular rental income and could cash in some of the equities in the properties... to cover daily living expenses during the period Beam is incarcerated."

Prosecutors also criticize the amount of reduction Beam is requesting. They argue that limiting the sentence to time served and offering probation is a radical departure from the possible sentence mentioned after the trial, which could be as long as 12 years in prison and up to $900,000 in fines.

"Having nine children is not a get-out-of-jail-free card," the prosecutors wrote.

Beam was remanded to Perry County Prison after his ankle device was removed while he was on home monitoring last summer.

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