1. Guts of the Guilty Plea (DOJ Tax Press Release here): The guilty plea was a bare bones plea to a single count of filing false income tax return (§ 7206(1), with a maximum possible sentence of 3 years (less good time credit of about 15%). The details which are often seen in plea agreements were left to flesh out in the sentencing process.
2. Key Sentencing Factors as Reported; (i) taxes evaded apparently "less than $26,000 for 2001-2007 (so why'd this guy do it???); (ii) $1.89 million FBAR penalty (this amount may include the civil tax penalty which, in any event on the numbers report would have been around $19,500 (does require accrual of interest)); and (iii) contrition for having done it (subtext for having been caught).
3. Sentence: 2 months of home incarceration; 150 (about 5 months) days home confinement; 215 days probation (about 7 months).
4. Leniency. Prosecutors sought leniency because of substantial assistance. I have not seen the prosecutors' motion, but will post further when and if I see it. The article does report that publicity about his case (presumably his guilty plea) helped spur more than 7,500 taxpayers to join the voluntary disclosure program that ended 10/15/2009. (As I have mentioned before, counsel in all criminal cases should encourage the Government to publicize the indictment, conviction and sentence so that this downward sentencing factor may be in play).
5. Judge's comments about offshore accounts:
“I think the public has become weary about people with all the trappings of success becoming involved in tax evasion,” said U.S. District Judge James Cohn in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Why does one set up offshore banking accounts? I’m sorry, it’s to set up to hide money and deceive the government.”6. Collateral Consequences. Moran is a yacht broker. The article reports that, according to this lawyer, he will lose his Florida license to sell new yachts. [JAT tacky comment: Perhaps he will take that business offshore, which would not seem to be too difficult for yacht sales.] Tax crimes practitioners and students are aware that there may be collateral consequences of guilty pleas. One of the problems that surfaced in the voluntary disclosure initiative was whether such collateral consequences might attend entering the program; even though there will be no conviction, the required cooperation may require a taxpayer to admit facts from which a crime may be inferred (even if perhaps not a direct admission).
JAT additional comment: the lenient sentencing relative to other tax crimes continues. See my question to readers here.