United States v. Lorentz Opdahl, 930 F.2d 1530 (11th Cir. 1991).

Bob Moussallem had tax liens filed against him and was contacted by Birmingham IRS agent William Cooper, who suggested that Moussallem make an offer in compromise. Knowing nothing about such a procedure, Moussallem concluded that Cooper was a corrupt IRS agent who would take bribes. Moussallem thereafter (like lots of gurus), got into the “guru promotion” business: he alleged that tax debts and liens could be satisfied if he was involved in working out a settlement and he worked with Cooper (for a huge price, of course).

Lorentz Opdahl, from South Dakota, sold his farming related business for about 1.2 million bux, filed tax returns regarding this sale, but ultimately “owed” as much as he had received from the sale of his business. Eventually, he learned about Moussallem’s “program” of giving him cash to deliver to Cooper to satisfy tax debts. Opdahl met with Moussallem and Cooper in a Birmingham hotel room (video-taped by cameras hidden in secret spots in the hotel room), where this program was explained to him. He later delivered 289,000 in cash to Moussallem, for delivery to Cooper. A short time later, Moussallem delivered to Cooper 120,000 in cash (all recorded by cameras operated by IRS special agents). Clearly, Moussallem kept 169,000 bux.

Both Moussallem and Opdahl were indicted for bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery, and Moussallem was convicted at trial on both counts, but Opdahl was convicted only on the conspiracy count.  I remember just before sentencing receiving a call from the prosecutor telling me that Moussallem had been killed when a shotgun he was inspecting discharged, killing him. I have a different conclusion, and believe this is an unsolved murder, perhaps engineered by a victim of guru Moussallem, or some of his compatriots who did not want him to talk (after all, he had been convicted).

Opdahl was sentenced, but got bond on appeal. His conviction was reversed on appeal and after remand, the prosecution dropped the case.

Too often, gurus like Moussallem learn some legal principle that they turn into a business, too often with disastrous results.