Why should a taxpayer use the services of a forensic accountant when being audited or under criminal investigation? Tracy Coenen talks about the expertise a forensic accountant can bring to the case, specifically in evaluating the methods used by the IRS for determining income.
In 2008, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged in state court with 8 felonies related to perjury, misconduct in office, and obstruction of justice. In On September 2008,he pleaded guilty to two felonies for obstruction of justice and was sentenced to four months in the Wayne County Jail and ordered to pay $1 million of restitution to the city of Detroit.
The fun didn’t stop there. Kilpatrick has been accused of hiding money that could be used to pay $855,000 restitution owed to the city of Detroit, stemming from the conviction. Despite claiming poverty and an inability to pay the restitution he owes, money has been magically appearing! Money was transferred to his wife, and Kwame himself received $4,000 from a mystery source. None of these funds were disclosed to the state by Kilpatrick, despite being required to do so under the conditions of his probation. It is suspected that Kilpatrick has money hidden, and that is the source of the funds. Read More
You are being audited. These are some of the most dreaded words an individual or business will ever hear from a state or federal tax auditor. They invoke fear, panic, and sometimes anger.
Most of all, they create a need for documentation. Every number could be scrutinized. That means documentation must be produced to support the amount of each expense and the business purpose of the item.
Some of us are meticulous in our documentation, but if you are like most taxpayers, you have pockets of misplaced or destroyed data. Even worse, you may be in a situation where documentation was completely destroyed by a fire or flood. If you don’t have documentation, does that mean your deductions are automatically disallowed? Not necessarily. Read More
Last week I presented a webcast for Securities Docket, Follow the Money – Using Technology to Find Fraud or Defend Financial Investigations. In this presentation geared toward attorneys, I gave an overview of some of the technology tools I’m currently using in my practice to provide better, faster financial investigations.
We looked at the process I’m using, as well as some of the results I’ve gotten for clients. This process is ideal for attorneys working on cases involving securities fraud, Ponzi schemes, white collar crime, divorce, tax fraud, and corporate fraud. The archived version of the webcast is available for viewing below. Read More
Ever met anyone who thought he didn’t have to pay income taxes? Maybe he tried to argue taxes are unconstitutional and there are legitimate ways to avoid paying them. Don’t believe it. Wesley Snipes believed it, and found himself in quite a bit of legal trouble. He’s been acquitted of the most serious criminal charges, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have to pay his taxes. The IRS still intends to go after him for income taxes on tens of millions of dollars, and the interest and penalties associated with those taxes won’t be cheap.
This week brings news that Nicholas Cage is joining the ranks of famous tax cheats. The IRS alleges he used his business, Saturn Productions, to write off $3.3 million in personal expenses (all those jet trips and limos) and says he owes $814,000 in taxes and penalties. Cage argues the expenses are all security needs. Read More
The tax world had its eyes on Wesley Snipes last week, who was on trial for tax evasion. I hate cases like this. Snipes didn’t report income of tens of millions of dollars and didn’t pay taxes on it. The rest of us pay our taxes, and most of us aren’t as well-to-do as Snipes. But we do it because it’s the law and it’s the right thing to do (no matter how much we hate it).
Yet Snipes gets mostly off the hook last week. He’s all kinds of happy because he was acquitted of felony charges of tax fraud and conspiracy. But he was convicted of three misdemeanor charges of failing to file tax returns. OOOOOH.
His attorney said Snipes didn’t commit fraud.. that he “had no bad intent.” Really? Well what do you call it when you fail to report $38 million in income? From 1999 through 2004, he didn’t file taxes and was involved with a group (American Rights Litigators) known for selling people tax advice that amounted to fraudulent schemes to avoid paying taxes. Read More
No, it’s not a joke.
Stephen Yagman, a high-profile lawyer who was involved in numerous cases against police thinks that he shouldn’t go to prison for his convictions on tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud. He says that would be too harsh a punishment, and he also says he will be in physical danger in prison because of all the work he did examining claims of excessive force by police for the Christopher Commission. Read More
It’s not often that a Milwaukee lawyer is hired to represent a Hollywood actor, so I have to mention this one. Wesley Snipes has fired Billy Martin, and hired Robert Bernhoft of The Bernhoft Law Firm. Bernhoft represented Snipes previously in a paternity suit, and is now on board to help defend against tax fraud allegations.
Snipes was in a bit of trouble though, because his tax fraud trial was set to start next week in Florida. The judge wasn’t too happy that he fired his lawyer and got a new one, and then asked for the trial to be continued. The judge thought it was all a ploy to delay the trial. Read More