Bank : UBS AG; two other unidentified Swiss bank, but one is pseudonymed "Swiss Bank No. 1"
Swiss Enabler: Beda Singenberger (see blogs here)
Entities: Yes (sham foundation and apparently sham corporation)
Guilt: By Plea Agreement - False FBAR (1 count)
Maximum Incarceration Period: 5 years.
Admits: Other false FBARs and failure to file FBARs
Tax Loss: $400,000 (at least)
FBAR Penalty: $1,200,000 + (FBAR penalty; perhaps 50% of highest balance for one year).
Court: SD NY
Judge Accepting Plea: Henry B. Pitman, Magistrate Judge, USDC SDNY
The press release from USAO SDNY is here. I cut and paste below the relevant portions:
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and CHARLES R. PINE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division ("IRS-CID"),announced that MICHAEL REISS, a Princeton, New Jersey, doctor, professor, and medical researcher, pled guilty today to willfully failing to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts ("FBARs") with the IRS, regarding Swiss bank accounts that he maintained and controlled. REISS utilized the services of BEDA SINGENBERGER, a Swiss financial adviser who was charged in an Indictment returned in the Southern District of New York on July21, 2011. As part of his agreement resolving the criminal charges, REISS agreed to pay back taxes of at least $400,000, and to pay a civil penalty of over $1.2 million. REISS entered his guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge HENRY B. PITMAN.
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According to the Information filed today in Manhattan federal court, the previously filed Singenberger Indictment, and statements made in connection with REISS's guilty plea: From 2000 until 2010, REISS was required to file an FBAR annually with the IRS for various accounts he held at Swiss banks. He was required to identify the financial institution with which his account was held, the type of account, the account number, and the maximum value of the account during the calendar year for which the FBAR was being filed. He failed to do so.
Specifically, starting 2000, REISS held an account at UBS AG in Switzerland ("UBS"). In 2002, REISS transferred the assets held in that account to another Swiss bank. Later, in September 2003, REISS, with the assistance of SINGENBERGER, opened an undeclared account at yet another Swiss bank ("Swiss Bank No. 1") in the name of a sham foundation, the Floranova Foundation. The foundation, of which REISS was the sole beneficiary, had previously been formed by SINGENBERGER under the laws of Liechtenstein. By opening the account at Swiss Bank No. 1 in the name of the Floranova Foundation, REISS was attempting to obscure his ownership of the assets in the account from the IRS. As of March 31, 2008, REISS's account at Swiss Bank No. 1 in the name of the Floranova Foundation account held assets valued at approximately $2.588 million.
In November 2008, REISS, again with SINGENBERGER’s assistance, opened another undeclared account at Swiss Bank No. 1. The account was opened in the name of Upside International Ltd., a corporation previously formed by SINGENBERGER under the laws of Hong Kong. The assets of REISS's account at Swiss Bank No. 1 in the name of the Floranova Foundation were then transferred shortly thereafter into REISS's Upside International Ltd. account.
For each of the calendar years from 2000 through 2007, REISS filed and caused to be filed with the IRS an FBAR. On each of these FBARs, REISS indicated that he had an interest in one or more bank or securities accounts at ABN AMRO Bank in the Netherlands, but he failed to disclose financial accounts at UBS and Swiss Bank No. 1, as well as an account at the Swiss branch of another bank that REISS held. For the calendar years 2008 and 2009, REISS did not file an FBAR with the IRS disclosing his signatory or other authority over his account at Swiss Bank No. 1. REISS's tax returns for the years 2000 through 2009 were similarly false in omitting the information about his Swiss bank accounts.