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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Last week, the U.S. Atorney’s office unsealed an indictment of Ernst & Young tax partners. The indictment alleges that Robert Coplan, Martin Nissenbaum, Richard Shapiro, and Brian Vaughn created and marketed tax shelters which were fraudulent, for use by individuals with taxable income in excess of $10 or $20 million. The tax shelters were created to improperly eliminate or reduce taxes due to the Internal Revenue Service.
The eight counts in the indictment include: conspiracy to defraud the IRS, tax evasion, making false statements to the IRS, and impeding and impairing the lawful functioning of the IRS.
The E&Y partners were part of a tax shelter development group first called VIPER (Value Ideas Produce Extraordinary Results) and then called SISG (Strategic Individual Solutions Group. It is alleged that the conspirators deceived the IRS about the true facts of the tax shelters, and that they knew discovery of the true facts by the IRS would result in the collection of unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties.