Monday, November 24, 2014

San Diego Tax Attorney Sentenced for Tax Evasion

Last Monday a US District Judge in San Diego sentenced Lloyd Irving Taylor to 5 1/2 years in federal prison

Former San Diego tax attorney sentenced for evading millions in taxes

Posted: Nov 17, 2014 6:40 PM PST Updated: Nov 17, 2014 6:40 PM PST

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A one-time San Diego tax attorney and certified public accountant was sentenced Monday to 5 1/2 years in federal prison for using the identities of deceased children to create aliases that allowed him to evade millions of dollars in taxes. In handing down the punishment for Lloyd Irving Taylor, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Anello also ordered the 71-year-old defendant to pay about $2.2 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
Following a weeklong trial in June, a jury convicted Taylor of 19 felony charges, including aggravated identity theft, making false statements to a financial institution, tax evasion, corrupt interference with the IRS and lying on passport applications.
According to prosecutors, Taylor stole the personal information of dead children and used it to obtain fraudulent passports and other identifying documents, which he then used to open and maintain financial accounts so he could hide his income and assets from the IRS.
The stolen identities also allowed him to transfer funds between accounts and to buy assets, such as gold coins, as another means of skirting taxes, court documents state.
Similarly, Taylor created over a dozen fake churches and opened 31 related bank and investment accounts in their names. He then took advantage of the tax-exempt status of religious institutions to fraudulently claim that his income was not subject to federal taxes, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego.
Among witnesses who testified during the trial was the brother of one of the deceased people whose identity was stolen, as well as an elderly blind woman whose Social Security number was filched by Taylor.
Despite working and earning money for over 40 years, Taylor filed federal tax returns just seven times, prosecutors said. All told, he failed to report about $5 million in income, on which he owed the IRS about $1.6 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The sad news is that this is not the first tax attorney who has been convicted of tax evasion.  It is extremely important that when seeking tax advice as a business owners or individual that you vet your tax professional.  Ask questions to determine how long they have been an attorney.  Check to see if they have had any disciplinary actions.  Ask them if their clients get audited.   You should also check to determine whether the attorney previously worked as an attorney for the IRS, DOJ or FTB.  People who previously worked from the government understand the internal workings of the tax agencies.  People who did not, well, do not.

The last thing you need in your life is to receive bad tax advice and to find yourself the subject of an IRS civil examination or worse a criminal investigation.  Don't let this happen to you or your business.  


Whether you are a business owner needing basic tax advice or bookkeeping services or a taxpayer who is seeking assistance and may be in trouble with the IRS, know that the tax professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing are dedicated to being ethical and professional as well as highly effective. We will work diligently to ensure that we can secure you the best possible outcome for your situation or structure your tax transaction in a way that is most favorable to you, but will also do so within the parameters of the law. Call our Los Angeles tax lawyers today at (800) 805-9718 for a reduced-rate consultation and rest easy knowing that as our client, you are our top priority.
 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wilson Tax Law Group - The Newport Beach Tax Attorney Blog: California Jury Aquits Banker of Conspiracy to Def...

Wilson Tax Law Group - The Newport Beach Tax Attorney Blog: California Jury Aquits Banker of Conspiracy to Def...: On Halloween day, after just four hours of deliberation, a retired senior vice president at Israeli-based Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd . (MZTF) ...

California Jury Aquits Banker of Conspiracy to Defraud Using Offshore Bank Accounts

On Halloween day, after just four hours of deliberation, a retired senior vice president at Israeli-based Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. (MZTF) was acquitted in Los Angeles federal court on charges he helped U.S. customers conceal their assets from the Internal Revenue Service.  

Shokrollah Baravarian, 82, was acquitted of charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. and helping Mizrahi clients prepare false tax returns. Prosecutors claimed Baravarian helped clients who opened accounts in Israel, didn’t declare them to the IRS and accessed money through loans from the Los Angeles branch.  The jury was not persuaded.  

The U.S. has been campaigning heavily to curtail offshore tax evasion. The IRS, through the US Department of Justice, has charged more than 70 taxpayers and three dozen offshore bankers, lawyers and advisers in offshore tax evasions schemes.  More than 45,000 Americans have avoided criminal prosecution by voluntarily disclosing their offshore accounts to the IRS, paying $6.5 billion in taxes, penalties and interest.   The Baravarian investigation is another blow to the US Government in its war against alleged offshore tax evasion.
 

In January, a U.S. judge in Chicago sentenced H. Ty Warner, the billionaire founder of toymaker Ty Inc. and Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts, to probation. He pleaded guilty to evading almost $5.6 million in taxes on more than $24.4 million in income from accounts with as much as $107 million. Warner faced 46 to 57 months in prison. Prosecutors are appealing.

Last year, a 79-year-old widow, Mary Estelle Curran, who evaded taxes through undeclared Swiss accounts with $43 million was sentenced to less than a minute of probation from a judge who scolded prosecutors.

On November 3, 2014,  after just 90 minutes of deliberation, federal jurors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, found former UBS AG (UBSN) banker Raoul Weil not guilty of conspiring to help as many as 17,000 U.S. taxpayers hide $20 billion from the IRS.  He was arrested last year in Bologna, Italy, and waived extradition.  Weil faced five years in prison and is now a free man.

The US government is aggressively pursuing individuals and bankers for offshore tax evasion.  If you have offshore bank accounts or have been involved in a offshore vehicle, it is extremely important that you seek competent tax counsel who can help you with these matters.  Competent tax counsel can mean the difference between jail and no jail.    The Wilson Tax Law Group is composed exclusively of former IRS Attorneys and Federal Tax Prosecutors.   Our prosecution and IRS background uniquely situates us in the area of criminal tax defense.  Please contact our Newport Beach Office at 949-397-2292 for a consultation.

 wilsontaxlaw.com

Monday, November 3, 2014

IRS Seizes Assets of Legimate Business Owners without Judicial Review

 

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, has expressed concerns about media reports of the IRS’s practice of prematurely seizing assets using civil asset forfeiture laws without suspicion of a crime. The Service indicated it would focus instead on areas where the funds are believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by "exceptional circumstances." Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, acknowledged that, while the IRS plays a role in fighting money laundering and other criminal activity, "it has to treat business owners fairly."
 
Richard Weber, chief, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS CI), said that, after a thorough review of the IRS’s structuring cases over the last year, "and in order to provide consistency throughout the country (between our Field Offices and the U.S. Attorney Offices) regarding our policies, IRS CI will no longer pursue the seizure and forfeiture of funds associated solely with "legal source" structuring cases unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the seizure and forfeiture and the case has been approved at the director of Field Operations (DFO) level."
 
Weber said that, while the act of structuring, whether the funds are from a legal or illegal source, is against the law, "IRS CI special agents will use this act as an indicator that further illegal activity may be occurring." The policy update is intended to ensure that the CI continues to focus its limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within its jurisdiction that closely align with CI’s mission and key priorities. "The policy involving seizure and forfeiture in "illegal source" structuring cases will remain the same," he said.
 
"When I hear about legitimate business owners’ having their money seized without judicial review, it reminds me of the taxpayer abuses that led Congress to create taxpayer bill of rights laws and the IRS restructuring commission," said Grassley in a statement. "If the pendulum has swung too far in favor of the government and against fairness for innocent people, then it’s time to reform civil asset forfeiture laws and procedures. I plan to look into the government’s use of civil forfeiture laws, including the IRS’ use, and develop potential reforms where necessary."
 
According to an IRS spokesperson, structuring is a felony under title 31 of the Bank Secrecy Act and the federal statute authorizes all law enforcement agencies to seize and forfeit—both criminally and civilly—money and property connected to the structuring activities. Seizure affidavits are reviewed by the U.S Attorney’s Office and then signed by an independent federal judge who determines that there is probable cause that the money is subject to forfeiture. Many times, the seizure of these assets will also lead to evidence of other financial crimes that were not present at the onset of the investigation.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"The Situation" Pleads "Not Guilty"

For those of you looking for an update on our prior post, Mike Sorrentino, star of reality show "The Jersey Shore," pleaded not guilty to all counts in a District Court in New Jersey earlier this week, on October 25.   He was released on a $250,000 bond.

The government has charged Mike Sorrentino and his brother with conspiracy to evade taxes.  In addition to allegedly filing false personal returns, Michael Sorrentino is alleged to have failed to file a return for 2011, when he allegedly received almost $2 million in income.

Daniel W. Layton, the author of this post*, is of counsel with the Wilson Tax Law Group.

*This post was previously posted on Daniel W. Layton's Tax-Attorney-OC blog and is reposted here with permission.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Wilson Tax Law Group - The Newport Beach Tax Attorney Blog: “Jersey Shore’s” Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino I...

Wilson Tax Law Group - The Newport Beach Tax Attorney Blog: “Jersey Shore’s” Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino I...: For all those Jersey Shore fans, television personality Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino and his brother Marc Sorrentino appeared ...

“Jersey Shore’s” Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Indicted on Charges of Federal Tax Evasion. Pleads Not Guilty

For all those Jersey Shore fans, television personality Michael 'The Situation' Sorrentino and his brother Marc Sorrentino appeared in federal court in Newark to face an indictment alleging they did not properly pay taxes on $8.9 million in income 'The Situation' received from promotional activities, the U.S. Attorney announced. 'The Situation' and his brother, Marc, have been charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Marc and 'The Situation' also are charged with three and two counts, respectively, of filing false tax returns for 2010 through 2012. 'The Situation' faces an additional count for allegedly failing to file a tax return for 2011, despite earning $1,995,757 that year.

According to the indictment, Michael and Marc Sorrentino filed false tax returns that incorrectly reported millions made from promotions and appearances,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. The brothers allegedly also claimed costly clothes and high-end cars and personal grooming as business expenses and allegedly funneled company money into personal accounts. As part of the conspiracy, the indictment alleges the brothers submitted or caused to be submitted to the IRS false documents which understated the gross receipts received by the brothers and their two companies. I suppose the IRS just does not watch enough reality TV and just doesn't understand 'The Situation' literally. Doesn't his reality TV personality require that he have high-end vehicles, silver chains and a waxed stomach at all times? Come on people.

At any rate, the conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; the filing false tax return counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count charging 'The Situation' with failing to file a tax return carries a maximum potential penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Contact the Wilson Tax Law Group, if you should ever need assistance in a criminal tax matter at 714-463-4430. This is what we do.