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News & Events

A Closer Look at a Few Noteworthy Tax Offenses and Convictions

Articles/News, Offshore Account Update

Posted on December 30, 2016 |

The Department of Justice Tax Division has been aggressively cracking down on those who evade their tax obligations. One of the DOJ's main focuses has revolved around identifying people who fail to declare offshore funds.  U.S. authorities have been making deals with banks to obtain information on accountholders and have created amnesty programs with the goal of getting certain violators to come forward and report previously undeclared offshore accounts in exchange for reduced penalties and avoiding criminal charges.

The efforts of the authorities have resulted in many people coming forward on their own to declare offshore accounts. Even with so many people participating in amnesty programs, however, there have also been numerous criminal prosecutions. Just recently, for example, one man who had millions offshore and did not declare the funds was convicted of serious criminal offenses. His case was one of several which have recently been resolved with defendants being found guilty of various tax crimes.

With the crackdown on tax offenses, anyone not fully in compliance with all tax laws could be at risk of facing legal action. If you are concerned that you may be a potential target for civil or criminal proceedings, you should contact a New Jersey criminal tax lawyer for assistance as soon as possible.

Crackdown on Tax Violations Results in Conviction

One of the recent cases which has been resolved against the defendant involved a man who was part of a fraud ring wherein false tax refund checks were claimed using the identities of dead people. More than $237,000 refund checks were sent to those involved in the scheme, and one of the perpetrators was recently convicted by a federal grand jury. He faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy as well as 10 years for each of seven counts of theft of public money, with the theft charges carrying a minimum penalty of two years per charge.

Other cases involved tax preparers who helped clients to lie on tax returns, as well as a man who embezzled millions from his clients and then hid the income from the IRS. The tax preparer and embezzler will both face financial consequences and jail time.

Finally, a business professor resolved a case against him with a guilty plea. He was accused of failing to file required annual reports declaring his offshore investments in a Swiss bank. Some of those offshore accounts were in the name of a “nominee” and the professor also reportedly worked with the nominee to get him to file a fraudulent return. 

The business professor admitted to hiding more than $73 million in offshore income. Among other things, he had invested in startups through his Swiss bank accounts since the mid-90s with the accounts either in his own name or the name of the nominee.  He also filed false income tax returns from 2008 to 2014. By not providing the IRS with required information about all of his offshore accounts and income, he saved around $10 million in taxes. He now has to pay a $100 million fine and could be jailed.

This case of the professor is part of a broader crackdown on people who have undeclared offshore funds. If you have accounts online and have not told the government about them, you could be targeted as a part of the crackdown. Contact a criminal tax lawyer Kevin Thorn to find out what your options are.


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