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Abusive Tax Shelters

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December 19, 2018

The U.S. has filed a complaint to bar EcoVest Capital, Inc. and associated individuals from continued activities related to the defendants' allegedly abusive conservation easement syndication tax scheme.  As set forth in the complaint, taxpayers may take a "qualified conservation contribution" deduction equivalent to the fair market value of a conservation easement, but only if certain requirements with respect to the donation of an interest in property for conservation purposes are satisfied. The defendants allegedly have organized, promoted, and sold ownership interests in at least 96 sham “conservation easement syndicates” which lack economic substance.  The syndicates have reported over $2 billion in improper tax deductions, resulting in hundreds of millions in tax underpayments.   DOJ

Constantine Cannon Attorneys Eric Havian and Michael Ronickher Published in Law360 on the Need for Anti-Money Laundering Whistleblower Rewards

Posted  12/12/18
In the wake of anti-money laundering enforcement activity spurred by the Panama Papers, Constantine Cannon attorneys Eric Havian and Michael Ronickher published an article in Law360 on why we need an anti-money laundering whistleblower program. Havian and Ronickher argue for a new, DOJ-led whistleblower program to close the “large enforcement gap” left open by the existing IRS and SEC programs: “Domestic law...

December 4, 2018

In connection with their work for the "Panama Papers" law firm of Mossack Fonseca & Co. and its affiliates, Ramses Owens, Dirk Brauer, Richard Gaffey, and Harald Joachim Von Der Goltz have been indicted for actions related to the firm's efforts to circumvent U.S. tax laws on behalf of their clients through the use of offshore accounts and shell companies which Mossack Fonseca created.  The defendants then used an alleged “playbook” to repatriate un-taxed money into the U.S. banking system. The defendants are charged with wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering, among other offenses. In the last two months, three of the defendants have been arrested; Ramses Owens remains at large.  DOJ

Money Laundering Watch: Will More Chickens Come Home to Roost Following Deutsche Bank Raid?

Posted  11/30/18
The Panama Papers fallout continues with a massive early morning raid on Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. Some 170 officers searched for evidence of the bank’s role in over $350m worth of suspected money-laundering through organizations in the British Virgin Islands. Deutsche Bank confirms the investigation is related to the Panama Papers: the April 2016 release of over 11 million files about...

November 19, 2018

Teymour Khoubian of Beverly Hills, California, has pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns which concealed offshore accounts he held and earned income from.  Khoubian had declined to disclose the accounts under the IRS's Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.  As part of his guilty plea, Khoubian agreed to a penalty of $7.7 million and an additional $612,310 in restitution to the IRS. Khoubian faces a prison sentence of three years.  DOJ

October 5, 2018

Following a court trial, a federal court in Utah has ordered that RaPower-3 LLC and International Automated Systems, Inc. stop all promotion and marketing and disgorge $50 million collected in an abusive tax scheme involving false tax deductions and solar energy credits.  The companies and their principals marketed what they claimed was technology that could be used in the production of solar energy and which, they further claimed, entitled the purchasers to take certain tax deductions and solar energy tax credits.  In fact, however, the technology was phony and defendants knew that its purchasers would not be entitled to the tax deductions and credits.  DOJ

August 28, 2018

The U.S. has entered in to a deferred prosecution agreement with Swiss bank Basler Kantonalbank (BKB), with BKB agreeing to pay over $60 million in penalties and cooperate with ongoing investigations regarding U.S.-related accounts.  The bank held over 1,000 accounts for U.S. customers, with an aggregate value over $800 million; many of these accounts were not declared to U.S. taxing authorities by the account-holders; the bank provided specific services to its undeclared clients to promote concealment of assets and income from U.S. taxing authorities.  DOJ

July 27, 2018

Mirelis Holding S.A., a Swiss financial and asset management firm, entered in to a non-prosecution agreement with a penalty of $10.25 million.  Mirelis also agreed to cooperate with U.S. investigations in to its U.S. clients who used Mirelis to conceal assets and evade U.S. tax obligations.  DOJ

Ex-HSBC Whistleblower Released From Custody as EU Campaigns for Stronger Whistleblower Protections

Posted  04/9/18
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team Law360 reports on a former HSBC employee wanted by Switzerland for allegedly leaking information about important clients to tax authorities who was released from custody in Spain. Herve Falciani was arrested last week by Spanish police on an international arrest warrant. Falciani had been sentenced to five years in prison by a Swiss court who tried him in absentia for industrial...

2017 Whistleblower of the Year Nominee -- Paradise Papers Whistleblower(s)

Posted  12/22/17
This “Whistleblower Spotlight” features the Paradise Papers leaker(s), an unnamed whistleblower (or whistleblowers) responsible for shining a light on the widespread use of illicit offshore tax havens. The November 2017 exposé revealed where government officials, royalty, entertainers, and powerful corporations store their cash to avoid taxes.  The details are in 13.4 million documents, such as emails and...
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