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In a rare legal turnabout, a Las Vegas businessman and 22 others charged with tax evasion have filed a RICO civil action against the federal prosecutor and other state and federal law enforcement and tax officials involved in their cases. Robert D. Kahre and the other plaintiffs, including family members, employees and business associates, filed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act action in federal court in Las Vegas. The action, filed in late February, asserts state and federal claims against Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Gregory Damm, members of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the FBI Strike Force and the North Las Vegas Police Department. Kahre v. Damm, No. 2:07cv231 (D. Nev.). Coin of the realm The plaintiffs allege that the prosecution of Kahre and the others, directed by Damm and scheduled for trial in May, reflects a pattern of racketeering activity in which Damm conspired with federal and local law enforcement officials to file “false, fraudulent and extortionate criminal charges” against Kahre and the others, then orchestrated a series of SWAT team assaults to seize Kahre’s tax records. Kahre v. Damm, No. 2:07cv231 (D. Nev.). They seek, among other things, an injunction barring Damm and the other defendants from participating in criminal cases or further investigations of them. Kahre and his associates are in the government’s sights in part because Kahre pays his associates in gold and silver coins minted by the U.S. Treasury, which they declare at face value for tax purposes. Natalie L. Collins, a spokeswoman for the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada and Acting U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre, said that the office does not comment on cases in litigation. Collins noted that though she was uncertain as to whether the office had been served with the civil complaint, a pair of tax evasion-related criminal cases are scheduled for trial on May 22. U.S. v. Kahre, No. 2:05cr120 (D. Nev.), and U.S. v. Kahre, No. 2:05cr121 (D. Nev.). William A. Cohan, a solo practitioner in San Diego who filed Kahre’s RICO complaint, said that the SWAT teams’ excessive search-and-seizure operations directed at Kahre’s tax records � and documented by Kahre’s security cameras � resulted in a federal judge stripping Damm and two IRS special agents of their qualified immunity in a related case. Allen v. U.S., No. 03-1358 (D. Nev.). Allen, which was put on hold after the federal criminal indictments were filed, is what is called a Bivens action, after Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). It is a judicially created constitutional claim outside the purview of the Federal Tort Claims Act. The North Las Vegas Police Department and its officers were dismissed as defendants from the Allen case. Damm and the IRS agents’ loss of immunity and an August 2005 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision reinstating a Los Angeles resident’s RICO case against the Los Angeles Police Department relating to the Ramparts police scandal, stand the plaintiffs a good chance of success in their RICO case, Cohan said. Diaz v. Gates, No. 02-56818 (9th Cir. Aug. 16, 2005).

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