The Shippensburg News-Chronicle
By Dale Heberlig, Managing Editor
Published: February 27, 2012
Man claims Beam made derogatory and inaccurate credit reports
While attorneys for convicted tax-evader Troy Beam continue to argue that their client has undergone a “transformation” and should receive a light sentence for his federal felony convictions, a new civil suit filed in federal court attacks Beam’s credibility.
A lawsuit filed in U.S. Middle District Court in January by Jonathan Gray, a Harrisburg man, and his Philadelphia attorneys seeks statutory, punitive and actual damages from Beam, the credit reporting agency Trans Union and Latrobe Leasing – one of 24 phony trusts identified in Beam’s tax evasion prosecution as a sham trust used to conceal real estate and earnings.
The suit contends that Beam and Latrobe made “derogatory and inaccurate” credit reports and that Trans Union then distributed that information on credit reports.
The suit goes on to contend that Beam, Latrobe and Trans Union have refused to “conduct timely and reasonable investigations” of Gray’s counter claims, and that Trans Union failed to note on its credit reports that negative credit information is in dispute.
The suit contends that Beam, Latrobe and Trans Union have “deliberately, willfully, intentional, recklessly and negligently” failed to perform reasonable investigations despite “exhaustive efforts” by Gray to get a reexamination of the claims.
Gray’s attorney, Erin Novak, of Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C., says her client is a 2007 graduate of Shippensburg and a former tenant at one of Beam’s rental properties in the Shippensburg area. She says Gray discovered the damaging information on his credit history when he sought a mortgage to buy a home recently.
In January, Beam attorneys in his tax-evasion case petitioned Judge Christopher Conner of U.S. Middle District Court to depart from sentencing guidelines that call for a prison term of 10 years for Beam on his convictions of failure to file tax returns and pay income tax and obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.
The defense motion asks for Beam to be released with a “time-served” sentence. He has been incarcerated since August 2011, when he was jailed after cutting a monitoring bracelet off his ankle. The bracelet was part of his conditions of release pending sentence after a May 2011 guilty verdict.
Beam’s argument is that he began a “transformation” since his incarceration and that his acceptance of guilt and accompanying rehabilitation entitles him to a reduced sentence.
Prosecutors oppose the reduction.
A federal jury of eight women and four men convicted Beam, now 48, on six felony charges in May 2011 after just five hours of deliberation. Sentencing was originally scheduled for August 2011, but has been delayed several times at the request of Beam’s lawyers, and is now set for April 10.
In their most recent motion, Beam attorneys say their client has acknowledged his guilt and begun a “transformation” since he was incarcerated after cutting off the monitoring bracelet.
The defense also argued that Beam’s family, including nine children, would become “wards of the state” if he is imprisoned for a lengthy period since he is the family’s sole means of support.
Prosecutors reject those arguments, arguing, “having nine children is not a get out of jail free card.” Both sides have cited case law to support their arguments.
The federal probation department recommends a prison sentence of 10 years.