Swiss Banker Pleads Guilty to Facilitating Tax Evasion
Recently, a 48-year-old Credit Suisse AG banker who worked at the North American desk for the bank entered a guilty plea with the U.S. government. The banker was considered a fugitive since 2011. Although he is a Swiss resident and an Italian citizen, this did not stop the U.S. government from going after him because of the role he played in helping U.S. citizens avoid complying with all of their income tax obligations.
The Swiss banker’s guilty plea is part of a long and dedicated effort on the part of the IRS and Department of Justice to crack down on banks and individuals who helped facilitate tax evasion. In guilty pleas like this one, authorities usually can obtain extensive details about how accountholders were helped to evade taxes.
Information turned over by banks and bankers can result in investigations into individual accountholders who may ultimately face substantial fines and penalties. A Washington DC tax evasion attorney should be consulted by offshore accountholders who are concerned their information could be turned over (or has been turned over) to the IRS or DOJ.
A Closer Look at the Banker’s Admissions
The Credit Suisse AG banker admitted that between 2002 and 2009, he took part in a wide-ranging conspiracy to assist U.S. taxpayers in evading their income tax obligations. He oversaw a portfolio of American accounts which totaled approximately $700 million. The tax losses to the U.S. government associated with his efforts to facilitate tax evasion resulted in approximately $1.5 million in lost revenue.
The banker took a number of different steps to help accountholders hide their accounts, including convincing them that Swiss banking privacy laws would prevent their information from ever being turned over. Of course, this has turned out to be very untrue, as Swiss banks and bankers increasingly agree to give up extensive details on accountholders to try to get leniency in cases against them by the U.S. government.
The Swiss banker also structured withdrawals for U.S. accountholders to avoid reporting requirements, facilitated large withdrawals of funds from banks in the Bahamas, Zurich and the UK, interfered with mail delivery to the United States, and removed evidence regarding the control that U.S. clients had over accounts when the clients filed false income tax returns. Many clients owned accounts in the name of trusts, corporations, foundations or foreign partners, and the banker was aware clients were doing this to hide their identities from the IRS.
This banker, who also took many steps to conceal his identity from law enforcement when traveling to the U.S. to meet with clients, is not the first to face prosecution. Two of his co-defendants also plead guilty to facilitating tax evasion, as did the bank for which he works. The banker faces penalties, restitution costs, fines and up to five years’ imprisonment.
With the ongoing crackdown on banks and bankers, anyone with offshore funds needs to be aware that their information is likely to be provided to the IRS by these banks and bankers sooner or later. It is often best to take proactive action before this happens, so contact DC tax evasion attorney Kevin Thorn for help as soon as possible.