Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Legal History of Leo Wanta

As I have mentioned before, the evidence points to Leo Wanta, not being an international finance wiz and secret agent for the Reagan administration, but being the owner of a failed vending machine company who got thrown in prison for tax evasion. A reader pointed me towards the Wisconsin State Records which back this up. Most telling was his appeal:

On May 8, 1995, Wanta’s four-day trial commenced. DOR agent Dennis Ullman testified for the State. Using a simple method of showing actual payments to or on behalf of Wanta from a New Republic bank account, Ullman demonstrated that Wanta had taxable income in 1988 and 1989. Wanta was the only defense witness. He testified that he never intentionally filed fraudulent tax returns; that he had no income between 1986 and 1989, but survived by borrowing and selling personal property; that money received and vehicles purchased were for his business; that he was not a resident of Wisconsin in 1989; and that he was not liable for the Falls Vending taxes because he was not the owner of the company. Wanta’s testimony also included grandiose and unbelievable claims.

The jury convicted Wanta on all six counts. On September 20, 1995, Wanta’s new attorney, Epstein, again expressed concern about Wanta’s competency, even though Wanta still asserted that he was competent. The court ordered a fifth competency evaluation. On October 27, 1995, a competency hearing was held and the court admitted the reports of Doctors Van Rybroek, Friedman and Treffert. No other evidence was presented. On October 30, 1995, the court issued an opinion concluding that Wanta was competent.

On November 20, 1995, the court sentenced Wanta to two years in prison on Counts 3 through 6, to run consecutively, for a total of eight years and imposed a six-year consecutive probation sentence on Counts 1 and 2. On June 3, 1996, the court ordered Wanta to reimburse the State Public Defender $4,167.64 for the cost of legal representation. The court also ordered Wanta to pay restitution of $24,900.91, which did not include Wanta’s payment of $14,129 applied to a civil fraud penalty. On January 23, 1998, the court reduced the total restitution to $14,128.10 because the original amount erroneously included interest. The court denied Wanta’s postconviction motions, and this appeal followed.

The records show a long history of legal and financial problems going clear back to 1982, including being sued by Western Union for owing them $2,279.00. He also apparently owed money to his phone company, and a copy place. You would think a top Secret Service agent with access to billions of dollars could pay his phone bill.