FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A 71-year-old Texas man, accused of filing false tax returns, was charged with attempting to hire a hit man to kill a federal judge, court documents show.
Phillip Monroe Ballard of Arlington, in federal custody and scheduled to go on trial Monday on the tax counts, was charged with attempting to have the presiding judge, U.S. District Judge John McBryde, killed, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.
Ballard is under federal indictment for allegedly presenting himself "as an attorney providing tax advice," as well as setting up a bogus corporation and church to conceal a client's income.
Another inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Worth tipped off federal agents Sept. 12, saying he and Ballard talked about Ballard's claim he was immune from all tax laws and how he feared he would be sentenced by McBryde to 20 years in prison. The other inmate said Ballard proposed having McBryde killed, federal agents said in the complaint charging him with the assassination plot.
"Ballard stated that he'd pay the inmate $100,000 cash" to arrange McBryde's death, a U.S. attorney's statement said Monday.
The inmate and an FBI agent, posing as the hit man, thwarted the plan, the statement said.
If convicted of the murder-for-hire charge, Ballard faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the newspaper said.