The plea deal of an ex-banker details tax-evasion schemes
In an effort to crack down on offshore accounts, federal prosecutors have stepped up investigations of the largest Swiss banks, their bankers and account holders. The most recent bank to come under scrutiny is Credit Suisse.
In 2011, federal prosecutors issued indictments against eight bankers with ties to Credit Suisse alleging they conspired with wealthy Americans to hide approximately $3 billion. Each of the bankers could face up to 5 years in prison and large fines. The bankers, however, remained outside of the country and beyond the reach of federal prosecutors.
Plea agreement provides more details about how accountholders evaded tax
Recently, one of the Swiss bankers was arrested and pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges. The ex-banker handled between 25 and 30 accounts for a Credit Suisse subsidiary. Many of the customers had accounts that were not disclosed to the Internal Revenue Service. He admitted advising customers how to structure transactions in a way that they would not be reported to U.S. regulators.
One technique required him to travel around the country with large quantities of cash. Operating much as a personal ATM, he would accept cash from one customer who wanted to make a deposit and then deliver it to another customer who wanted to make a withdrawal.
In a statement, the ex-banker alleged that executives were aware of what was going on and basically conveyed the message of “you know what we expect of you – don’t get caught.”
Penalties for tax fraud
The willful attempt to evade taxes carries a criminal penalty of up to five years in prison. In addition, an individual may be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 ($500,000 for corporations) and prosecution costs. A taxpayer would also need to pay all taxes owed, along with penalties and interest.
As part of a plea deal, the ex-Credit Suisse banker will receive a reduced sentence for cooperating with authorities. He was released on $200,000 bond with travel restrictions while awaiting sentencing.
The ex-banker’s assistance could impact the broader investigation of Credit Suisse practices, which the CEO asserted were limited to just a few employees in recent testimony before the Senate. The bank is expected to reach a settlement with the Justice Department and pay a large fine for aiding U.S. customers in evading tax payments.
From the moment a federal or state agency or prosecutor begins asking questions related to a possible crime, it is important to consult with an experienced white-collar criminal attorney. What is said in the early stages of an investigation can be used against you later. A lawyer will help you reach the best possible outcome and ensure your rights are protected.
Credit: Digital Journal