'Medicine man' pleads guilty to tax evasion, possessing unregistered firearm

'Medicine man' pleads guilty to tax evasion, possessing unregistered firearm

KINGS MOUNTAIN, NC (WBTV) - Reuben T. DeHaan, also known as "medicine man," pleaded guilty to tax evasion and possession if an unregistered firearm, U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced Wednesday.

According to court documents, 44-year-old DeHaan owned a holistic medicine business, operated out of his Kings Mountain home under the names "Health Care Ministries International Inc." and "Get Well Stay Well."

Dehaan admitted he set up straw companies and opened bank accounts to hide his income and assets from the IRS, court documents state. He also admitted to dealing in cash to avoid paying income tax.

DeHaan earned more than $2.7 million in gross receipts from his medicine business, but failed to file income tax returns. He evaded around $740,000 in income taxes due and owing, according to court documents.

DeHaan also admitted to possessing a short barrel rifle and two silencers that were not registered to him. DeHaan faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for tax evasion and ten years for the unregistered firearm charge. He also faces a term of supervised release and monetary penalties.

In a previous appeal, DeHaan's attorneys wrote, "Reuben DeHaan was born in a rainforest, the son of missionaries who raised him with the ability to live sustainably." The appeal goes on to read, "While his upbringing and lifestyle is unusual, his life, his actions and this offense pose no threat of harm to the public."

Regarding weapons that were found on DeHaan's property, attorneys stated, "To provide full context for the Court: Mr. DeHaan had a room connected to his home that contained in excess of 70 lawfully owned firearms that law enforcement left in the home."

During DeHaan's arrest, documents stated that he "provides natural healing services and products to customers for a fee" through his business at his home on Police Club Road.

The affidavit also states that DeHaan previously claimed to be a minister of the Native American Church of Nemenhah, and claimed on his income taxes that all of his earnings from his healing business are donations because he is a minister and are, therefore, non-taxable.

The affidavit alleges that Dehaan has "operated his holistic medicine business under various entity names" and has "not voluntarily filed a Federal income tax return for himself or his business since 1997, except for frivolous returns for years 2005 and 2006."

Investigators say DeHaan's tax claims are false because the Native American Church of Nemenhah is not recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a Native American tribe and is not recognized as a "church" or "religious order" by the IRS, "as it has not applied for or received a tax identification number or not-for-profit status from the IRS."


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