Key witness in Flowers case faces federal fraud charges

The duplex Patricia Hallmon called home in 1996

(This post is part of a series concerning Curtis Flowers, an innocent man convicted of a horrific crime that has divided a small Mississippi town.  Information on the Flowers case can be found here.)

If you Google Patricia Hallmon’s name, you get two primary sources of information: my description of her role in the prosecution of Curtis Flowers, and this article from the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.  Miss Patricia is standing trial for claiming $652,345 in false tax deductions.

Here’s the big news: Patricia Hallmon’s fraudulent behavior is perfectly consistent with the theory that she and her brother Odell perjured themselves in 1996 so they could get their hands on the $30,000 reward on offer from DA Doug Evans and his investigator, John Johnson.

Initially, brother Odell admitted to the scam, testifying to that effect at Mr. Flowers’ second trial.  Released from prison, Odell had to live with his irate sister, Patricia.  After a month of free-world misery he went to Doug Evans and told him he was recanting his recantation.

And this guy is being sponsored as a credible witness by the State of Mississippi.

Worse still, if there is ever a seventh trial for Curtis Flowers, Patricia Hallmon will probably be transported from federal prison to testify.

Patricia Hallmon’s testimony is critical to the state’s case because (a) she testified that Curtis Flowers was wearing a pair of Grant Hill Filia running shoes on the day of the murder (suggesting that the bloody footprint found at the crime scene could be tied to Flowers) and (b) she testified that she saw him leaving his duplex apartment on two occasions on the morning of the crime.

These comings and goings fit perfectly with the state’s theory of the crime.  This is hardly surprising.  John Johnson manipulated Catherine Snow into placing Flowers at the parking lot where the alleged murder weapon was allegedly stolen the morning of the crime.  Snow initially said she saw a short stranger in the parking lot; then changed her testimony after repeated police interviews that, by her own admission, she found unnerving.

Johnson then went to Hallmon and got her (for a price) to corroborate the timeline he had fraudulently established.

In this way, the appearance of a credible case was manufactured ex nihilo.

Subtract Odell and Patricia Hallmon from the case against Curtis Flowers and a weak case collapses altogether.

Patricia Hallmon was never a credible witness.  At the sixth Flowers trial in June of this year, she went into virtual hysterics on the witness stand, threatening at one point that, if recalled to the stand, she would refuse to testify even if subpoenaed.

This latest development simply throws her credibility issues into much starker relief.

There is more to this story than has thus far been revealed.

For one thing, I suspect Jimmy E. Gates, the journalist responsible the article on Hallmon’s legal issues, has no idea that the homicide case against Curtis Flowers turns on her testimony.

Secondly, all the folks testifying against the defendant claim they were unaware that anything untoward was going on.  These claims will likely be taken at face value.  Compare this with the government’s unwillingness to believe Alvin Clay’s assertion that he wasn’t aware that his co-defendants were running a scam.  At least Mr. Clay was being reimbursed for rehab work; the folks in the Hallmon case readily admit receiving big checks from Uncle Sam, but can’t explain Ms. Hallmon’s largesse.

Something fishy is clearly afoot.  The logical assumption is that Hallmon was generously rewarded for creating false deductions–why else would she go to the trouble?

Question: Will Jimmy Gates and the good folks at the Clarion-Ledger connect the Hallmon-Flowers dots for their readers?

Tax deductions called fake

Preparer on trial for alleged false returns

Jimmie E. Gates

Several witnesses testified Tuesday in federal court that they did not authorize a Jackson tax preparer to file thousands of dollars in itemized deductions listed on their 2005 and 2006 tax returns.

Patricia Ann Sullivan, aka Patricia Hallmon Sullivan, aka Patricia Odom, 41, is on trial in U.S. District Court. She is charged with 16 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal tax returns claiming fraudulent deductions totaling $652,345.

Those who testified Tuesday acknowledged they received large refund checks, but said they were not aware it was inappropriate.

Larry Gibson of Jackson, a Nissan employee, testified that Sullivan did his taxes in 2005 and 2006, but never gave him a copies of the returns.

Shown a copy of the returns Tuesday during his testimony, Gibson said the signature on the returns was not his.

On Gibson’s 2005 tax return, James Gibson is listed as his foster child, a dependent. James Gibson actually is his grandfather, Larry Gibson said.

The tax return showed Larry Gibson claimed $37,727 in itemized deductions in 2005.

When asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst how much he told Sullivan to claim in itemized deductions, Gibson replied, “None.”

Gibson said he didn’t provide Sullivan with any itemized deductions other than roughly $300 a year taken out of his check for United Way.

In 2006, Gibson’s tax return listed itemized deductions of more than $35,000.

Gibson said when he took his tax returns to Sullivan, she sat across from him at a computer and told him his approximate refund amount. He said she insisted that he have the refund electronically deposited into his bank account.

Brenda Brown of Jackson, said Sullivan misrepresented her in tax returns.

Brown said her only deduction was for $1,000 to her church in 2005. But her return showed $43,440 in itemized deductions in 2005 and more than $51,000 in 2006.

Gibson and Brown received more than $6,000 in tax refunds those years.

During cross examination by Sullivan’s attorney, James Powell III, former district attorney for Holmes, Humphreys and Yazoo counties, Brown said he was not promised immunity for his testimony but said he has not been charged with an offense.

Also, Brown said he never told anyone he should not have received the refunds until after he was contacted by the Internal Revenue Service.

According to the indictment, Sullivan prepared false tax returns for seven people from tax years 2004 to 2007.

Sullivan faces up to 48 years in prison if convicted, but would likely get a much shorter sentence based on federal guidelines.

Sullivan’s trial continues today before U.S. District Judge William Barbour Jr.

4 thoughts on “Key witness in Flowers case faces federal fraud charges

  1. Very interesting, to say the least. The state will no doubt continue to call her a credible witness. As did the state in Tulia with Tom Coleman until the evidentiary hearings shot his credibility all the way to purgatory if not to hell.

  2. When the murders happened 14 yrs. ago, Ms. Hallmon wasn’t preparing taxes, so wonder if someone paid the Clarion-Leger to BOLDLY publish the article. What does this have to do with the trial.

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