The press release describes her conduct as follows:
According to the plea agreement and statements made in court, to conceal from the IRS the deficiencies in the documents that she drafted for her wealthy clients, Land forged the posthumous signatures of both her deceased clients and their living children on amendments to the documents. Land also misled an appraiser as to the value of the estates, created fake legal invoices that reflected work she never performed, and lied to the IRS about the circumstances surrounding the creation of the amendments. According to the terms of the plea agreement, Land admitted that the "relevant and foreseeable" tax loss that could have resulted from her obstruction was approximately $1,140,636.I don't have the plea agreement yet, so don't know whether it sets forth the parties' understandings and agreements as to the sentencing guidelines components. However, my rough calculation suggests a sentencing range of 30-37 months. The cap on sentencing will, of course, be 3 years because she pled to a single Section 7212(a) count. I will fine tune that calculation when I get the plea agreement.
Addendum on 5/9/12: I have obtained 2 pages of the plea agreement, here, with the rest under seal. The unsealed portion (2 pages) gives some details within the scope of the general statement in the press release. The plea agreement states: "LAND was motivated to take these actions because she feared a malpractice suit from the administrator of her client's estate."
My web search indicates that Ms. Land was an accomplished and respect attorney. Her bio at a law firm is here. Th bio may not be there for long so I cut and pasted the following:
J.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Law, (summa cum laude, 1990)
B.A., Economics and Political Science, Youngstown State University, (summa cum laude, 1987)
Suzanne Land is a Partner in the Corporate Department and member of the firm's Family Wealth Planning Practice Group. Suzanne's practice is concentrated in estate and gift taxation and planning, business succession planning, asset protection planning, charitable tax planning, elder care law and planning for beneficiaries with special needs. Suzanne handles a variety of matters relating to estate and gift tax minimization and asset protection strategies, family wealth transfers and planning giving techniques for charitable gifts. Such matters include wills, revocable trusts, family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, installment sales, grantor retained annuity trusts, residence trusts, private family foundations, charitable remainder and charitable lead trusts as well as the special planning issues that arise with retirement plans and individual retirement accounts.
Suzanne also represents individuals and family business owners involved in real estate development, manufacturing, health care, financial services and many other industries and is familiar with the tax issues and opportunities unique to each profession. In addition, she has significant experience in assisting families with special needs due to elder care issues and issues arising in families with disabled children.
Memberships & Affiliations
Cincinnati Bar Association
Ohio State Bar Association
Kentucky State Bar Association
University of Cincinnati School of Law, Adjunct Professor teaching courses in Estate Planning and Gift and Estate Tax (1998 to present)
United Way, Tocqueville Society, Founding Member of Cincinnati Women's Leadership Council
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (2009-2011)
Peer Review Rated AV in Martindale-HubbellI felt a sense of sadness in reading these materials and preparing this blog entry. Perhaps it is because we are members of the same lawyer "tribe." Perhaps it is because she seem to have so much going for her. I can hardly imagine what would have driven her to do this. But, then, all I have is the cryptic data set forth above. I am reminded of this discussion I read recently on 3Quarksdaily here:
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
Selected for the Ohio and Kentucky Super Lawyers® List
Selected as a Cincy Leading Lawyer by Cincy Magazine
Worth Magazine/The Robb Report – Top 100 Estate Planning Attorney in the Nation (2005-2007, 2009)
There is the apocryphal story in which Hemingway, sitting in a bar somewhere in Key West, is asked by an antagonistic admirer to follow his minimalism to its logical outcome and to tell a story in six words. As the story goes, Hemingway picks up a napkin and writes out the following words:
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
This is a pretty good story. The reader has to kind of inhabit it and fill in all that is unsaid (which is pretty much everything), but there’s an inexhaustible sadness there in the spaces between the words. Everything pared away until there’s almost nothing left. The iceberg theory of fiction.