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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Attorney Says Glock Lied to Get Him Arrested

ATLANTA (CN) - The founder of gunmaker Glock and a web of company agents conspired to get a Georgia attorney arrested to hide a tax evasion scheme, the attorney claims in court.

James Harper III, a former assistant U.S. attorney and ex-Glock investigator, was arrested and indicted in Cobb County, Ga. on theft charges in 2010, but the Georgia Supreme Court dismissed Glock's criminal case against him three years later.

In a RICO complaint filed last month, Harper says Gaston Glock Sr. and co-conspirators wanted to "discredit, humiliate, and financially destroy Harper" because he caught on to Glock's scheme, which allegedly "skimmed billions of dollars in revenues from sales of Glock pistols while fraudulently evading paying taxes on those revenues."

Harper says the Glock founder retained him to investigate the purported illegal practices of Glock's close friend and confidant, Charles Ewert. Ewert was later convicted of attempting to murder Glock, and is currently serving a prison sentence in Luxembourg. Glock told Harper that Ewert was trying take over Glock's global companies, according to the lawsuit.

Harper claims he conducted an investigation of Ewert and helped Glock regain control of his companies and assets.

"During the course of this investigation, Jim [Harper] and his team discovered that Glock was actually involved in these illegal transactions and that Glock and Ewert were doing this to evade taxes all over the world," Harper's lawyer, William Stone, told Courthouse News.

When Harper succeeded in restoring Glock's control over his companies and assets, "Jim was expendable, but he was also a liability," Stone said, because Harper and his team of investigators had discovered proof of Glock's worldwide tax evasion plan.

Glock Sr. told Harper that Ewert was solely responsible for any tax evasion activity that was being carried out while he was trying to seize control of the Glock companies and assets, Harper says.

In March 2003, when it became clear to Harper that Glock Sr. was involved in the tax evasion activities all along, and had no intention of fully cooperating with the IRS and FBI as he said he would do, Harper ended his relationship with Glock and his investigation, according to his lawsuit.

After that, the defendants - Glock Inc., Glock Sr., Consultinvest, Inc., Core Law Firm, Robert Core, Renzulli Law Firm, John Renzulli, James Deichert, and Fellows Labriola - formulated a plan to have Harper indicted by the federal government by claiming Harper stole money from Glock Sr., Harper claims.

They wanted "to prosecute and incarcerate Harper and to cause the deprivation of his constitutional rights that would result from a felony conviction," the lawsuit states. A felony conviction and incarceration would also silence Harper and destroy his credibility as a witness against Glock in any tax evasion charges, according to Harper.

Federal prosecutors weren't interested in the case, so Glock took the case to the state. Cobb County, Ga. is where Glock Inc. is headquartered.

"They have shooting ranges in Cobb County where local police officers can go shoot for free, that kind of thing," Stone told Courthouse News. "They found a guy named Harrison who would be a willing investigator and provided information to him."

Detective Ramon Harrison was a "co-conspirator" in Glock's scheme to incarcerate Harper, according to the lawsuit, but he is not a party to the complaint.

Harper says Glock and co-conspirators gave the Cobb County District Attorney's Office and the Smyrna Police Department litigation support, legal advice, and legal services. "The support was furnished by Core, the Core Firm, Renzulli, the Renzulli Firm, Deichert, and Fellows Labriola, and funded by Gaston Glock, Sr., either directly or indirectly through Glock Group entities, including Glock Inc. and Consultinvest," the complaint states.

Harper says his indictment was "procured by illegal means and methods, including knowingly using false statements and perjured testimony, fabricating and altering evidence, and concealing exculpatory evidence." After the Georgia Supreme Court eventually dismissed Glock's charges, the new Cobb County District Attorney declined to pursue further efforts to prosecute Harper, according to the complaint.

"It was a false and malicious prosecution carried out through a racketeering scheme," Stone told Courthouse News.

Harper claims he was deprived of more than $3 million in fees and expenses since May 2003 and he seeks to recover those amounts. He also wants an unspecified amount of money for his intangible damages as well as punitive damages to be determined at trial.

Glock Inc.'s legal representation could not be reached by Courthouse News because they were out of the office all week and the receptionist could not say why.

"They did a real good job of trying to destroy this man's reputation and we're going to do our best to try and restore it," Stone said.

Former Glock attorney Paul Jannuzzo sued the gunmaker in July over similar allegations. Jannuzzo says Glock went after him after he discovered sham transactions and misappropriation of company money, resulting in a jail stint before the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed Jannuzzo's theft and racketeering convictions.

Glock sells guns in more than 100 countries and has a 65 percent market share in the United States, according to court filings.

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