S Family Member-2, identified in the NYT article below as Henry Seggerman,, is apparently still at the highest risk (assuming that S Family Members -3 and -4 ultimately get some type of cooperation agreement with a lesser plea). S Family Member -2 "oversaw the family's dealing with MICHAEL LITTLE, the defendant, and also tried to place his mother, the S Family Member Matriarch, on a budget with respect to her spending of the amounts she would be bringing to the United States from foreign locations."
The New York times has an article on the unsealed complaint with some details not in the unsealed complaint. Benjamin Weiser, Family Told How to Hide Inheritance, U.S. Claims (NYT 5/11/12), here. I think the article is interesting and gives a hint that there are real stories and real lives behind the more egregious attempts to exploit offshore accounts to avoid U.S. tax liability. The article contains the following selective details:
1. The defendant, Mr. Little, was arrested yesterday at the airport, hence the unsealing of the complaint. (How many more sealed complaints or indictments are there out there for others?)
2. Bail was granted at $2,000,000.
3. The Family is the family of "Patriarch" Harr G.A. Seggerman, a respected investment fund president.
4. S Family Member-1 is Suzanne Seggerman. Her Wikipedia entry is here.
5. A grand jury investigation is continuing.
Here are some of my unfiltered quick thoughts:
- The overt acts recount the usual types of actions to impair and impede. Only the involvement of the lawyer is not, more or less, mainstream for these types of charges. The methods of hiding include use of sham mortgages to get the money into the U.S. with less scrutiny.
- The grand jury investigation is described as a "grand jury investigation into S Family Members." The investigation "also has focused on foreign advisers to the S Family, including MICHAEL LITTLE, the defendant, the Swiss Lawyer, and the NJ Accountant."
- A key meeting to inform the members of the S-Family is alleged to have occurred at the Four Seasons in NYC. I wonder whether there would be some advantage to building a database of the cities and hotels involved in these escapades? The complaint takes care to allege (in footnote 2, p. 6) that "S Family Member-4 took extensive notes at the Four Seasons meeting (written on For (sic) Seasons stationery), which she kept and has turned over to the Government during this investigation."
- Entities were used to implement the scheme; as alleged, they were "from offshore entities to the accounts of United States entities that the S Family Matriarch has set up and used for various philanthropic purposes" which then filed fraudulent tax returns."
- The fraud alleged as the object was both income tax and estate tax fraud.
- Little's name is not always consistently spelled. (I know this is picky, but that is what I get paid to do.) Don't these guys use word processors with a spell feature (or only the feature that has the usual conspiracy charge)?
- Interestingly, the complaint alleges a conspiracy to violate 7212(a). Why I think this is interesting is the Section 7212(a) is sometimes called a one person Klein conspiracy. Thus, the charging of a conspiracy to violate Section 7212(a) would seem to me nothing more than a Klein conspiracy which is separately charged. I hope some of you will comment on this aspect of this charge.
Martha Neil, Lawyer Held In Lieu of $2M Bail re Claimed Conspiracy to Help Clients Avoid Tax on Offshore $10M (ABA Journal Law News Now 5/14/12), here.
Sam Chadderton, Kings Bench barrister held in US over alleged $10m tax fraud (Court.US 5/14/12), here.
This blog entry was substantially revised on 5/12/12; articles were added on 5/15/12.