Notable Tax Crimes and Recent Convictions
Recently, several major tax cases have been resolved with guilty pleas and convictions. The cases involve defendants accused of various offenses, including tax fraud, tax evasion, and crimes in connection with offshore accounts. The potential penalties for the defendants could include lengthy prison sentences.
The recent convictions demonstrate that the government can and does crack down on individuals who the government believes failed to fulfill their tax obligations. In recent years, there has been a strong focus on going after banks and offshore investors in both civil and criminal proceedings. The government is serious about collecting missing revenue and those at risk of being prosecuted for not being in full compliance with tax obligations should consult with a Washington DC criminal tax lawyer for help.
Criminal Tax Cases Resolved
One of the recent cases that resulted in a very substantial fine involved a business administration professor who had undeclared funds in Swiss bank accounts. He was required by law to report the existence of these accounts on annual Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) forms. He pled guilty to crimes in connection with his failure to make required reports and comply with other IRS rules in connection with his offshore funds.
The professor admitted to agreeing to have fraudulent tax forms filed by a nominee whose name was on some of the Swiss bank accounts. He also acknowledged he had filed false income tax returns between 2008 and 2014. On his false returns, he failed to report at least $73 million in income. Some of this undeclared income came from the fact that he had used his Swiss bank accounts to invest in start up companies.
Because of his failure to report the income, he saved around $10 million in taxes. Unfortunately, he ended up paying a $100 million penalty for failing to file FBARs and he potentially faces up to five years’ imprisonment for his tax crimes. The Tax Division of the Department of Justice indicated that the Division is specifically cracking down on some of the behaviors the professor admitted to engaging in, including making false statements on expatriation forms.
Another recent case involved a North Carolina man who pled guilty to wire fraud and filing false tax returns after embezzling money from clients and failing to report the embezzled funds to the IRS. He will be required to pay back taxes to the IRS and restitution to clients, while also facing the potential for up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Finally, there were several defendants who were convicted and sentenced for using the identities of dead people to file false tax returns to obtain more than $237,000 in refunds from the IRS; and there was an attorney and tax preparer convicted of tax obstruction and aiding in the filing of false returns.
You do not want to become one of the defendants who is faced with charges and forced to plead guilty or go to trial to fight conviction. If you are concerned you could be a target of criminal prosecution or civil penalties for tax offenses, consult with attorney Kevin Thorn, a DC criminal tax attorney, as soon as possible to get help exploring amnesty programs and otherwise working to protect your future.