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Tax Enforcement Actions

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the United States agency with primary responsibility for enforcing federal tax laws, working with the Department of Justice. Whistleblowers with knowledge of violations of the federal tax laws can submit a claim to the IRS under the IRS Whistleblower Reward Program, and may be eligible to receive a monetary reward.

Below are summaries of recently-announced settlements or successful prosecutions by the IRS or DOJ. If you believe you have information about fraud or wrongful conduct which could give  rise to a claim under the IRS Whistleblower Reward Program, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced whistleblower attorneys.

August 27, 2021

Prithviraj “Roger” Bhikha, a former Senior Director of Global Supplier Management at Cisco Systems, Inc. was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $2.5 million to the IRS following his guilty plea on charges arising from his receipt of kickbacks from Cisco vendors, his creation of a front company that billed $10 million in services to Cisco while concealing his role, and his failure to report more than $9 million in income to the IRS.  Bhikha was also ordered to pay $1.15 million to Cisco, and forfeited to pieces of real estate in San Francisco.  IRS; USAO ND Cal

August 6, 2021

Chandra Yarlagadda, who owned and operated biodiesel supplier Alpha Bioenergy LLC, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $3.3 million following his guilty plea to income tax evasion charges.  Yarlagadda, who reported income and expenses associated with Alpha Bioenergy on Schedules C attached to his personal income tax returns, admitted that over the course of three years he reported that the company incurred expenses totaling more than $14.2 million for the purchase and retirement of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) used by the EPA, when, in fact, he had incurred only $80,000 in RIN expenses during those years.  Without the inflated deduction claims, Yarlagadda would have owed an additional $2.3 million in federal income taxes.  DOJ

August 3, 2021

Bermuda bank Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited will pay $5.6 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges that between 2001 and 2013 it assisted U.S.-taxpayer clients in opening and maintaining undeclared foreign bank accounts.  The bank has provided the government with approximately 386 unredacted client files.  USAO SDNY; IRS

July 13, 2021

Joel Jerome Tucker, the principal in payday loan business eData Solutions, LLC and related entities, was ordered to pay $8.1 million in restitution to the IRS and sentenced to 12.5 years in prison following his conviction on charges related to his fraudulent sale of non-existent payday loan portfolios and the failure by him and his companies to file federal income tax returns or pay taxes.  Tucker used nominee bank accounts to conceal income and assets and owed taxes, penalties, and interest of more than $12 million.  In addition, in 2020, Tucker fraudulently obtained a $20,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan.  USAO WD MO

May 14, 2021

Dusko Bruer, who owned and operated an agricultural machinery company, was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay $2.8 million in restitution following his conviction on tax evasion charges.  Between 2003 and 2009, Bruer's company did not file or pay either corporate or employment taxes.  Bruer was not paid a salary; instead, he used funds from corporate bank accounts for personal expenses.  Bruer also failed to report foreign bank accounts that he owned and controlled, and to which he transferred millions of dollars between at last 2006 and 2015.   DOJ

May 14, 2021

Swiss insurance company Swiss Life Holding AG and related entities will pay $77 million and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement admitting that they conspired with U.S. taxpayers to  conceal more than $1.452 billion in assets and income in offshore insurance policies and related policy investment accounts.  From 2005 to 2014, Swiss Life maintained approximately 1,608 Private Placement Life Insurance policies known as “insurance wrappers,” with associated policy investment accounts with Swiss Life entities identified as the owner, allowing U.S. taxpayers to hide undeclared assets and income and evade taxes.  Beginning in 2008, Swiss Life specifically marketed such policies to taxpayers withdrawing assets from UBS and other Swiss banks in response to offshore tax enforcement efforts aimed at those bank.  DOJ; USAO SDNY

May 6, 2021

Spirits, beer, and wine produce the LeVecke Corporation agreed to pay almost $29 million in compromise of claims by the Department of Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau alleging violations of the Internal Revenue Code, including failure to timely file tax returns and failure to timely file and/or pay excise tax. TTB

March 16, 2021

Southern California brewer Stone Brewing Co., LLC, will pay $1.8 million to resolve allegations that the brewery underpaid excise taxes by misapplying tax rates, and failed to timely file excise tax returns and related operational reports. TTB

March 11, 2021

Swiss bank Rahn+Bodmer Co. will pay $22 million to resolve allegations that it conspired with U.S. customers to evade their U.S. tax obligations by concealing their ownership and control of up to $550 million in undeclared funds held in R+B accounts.  The bank entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and will cooperate with further investigations, including of U.S. accountholders.  DOJ

October 15, 2020

Robert F. Smith, who formed and beneficially owned Belize entity the Excelsior Trust and Nevis entity Flash Holdings, has entered into a non-prosecution agreement, agreeing to pay $139 million, to resolve claims that between 2000 and 2015 he unlawfully used the offshore entities and their offshore bank accounts to conceal income earned by him on private equity investments and evade millions in taxes.  Using the offshore trust accounts, Smith willfully did not report to the IRS over $200 million of partnership income.  In addition, he unlawfully failed to report his ownership of foreign bank accounts in BVI and Switzerland.  The $139 million settlement consists of $56 million in taxes and penalties on unreported income and $82 million in penalties stemming from his failure to report his offshore bank accounts.  In addition, Smith agreed to abandon a $182 million refund claim based on alleged charitable contributions in 2018 and 2019.  DOJ; USAO ND Cal
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