Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Attorney Pleads to Obstructive Conduct (12/31/12)

William A. Hirst, a Pleasanton, Calif. attorney, pled guilty to making a false statement to the IRS (18 USC Section 1001, here).  See press release of USAO ND CA, here.  The press release has a link to the indictment; the link is here.

The background is that the attorney apparently tried to cover his tracks for some incompletely implemented estate planning.  The press release says:
According to the plea agreement, in February 2004, Hirst assisted a client in estate tax planning. Hirst prepared 11 deeds gifting fractional interests in eleven parcels of his client’s real properties to his client’s daughter. On Feb. 12, 2004, Hirst also acted as the notary public for the client’s signature on all 11 deeds. Eight of the deeds were recorded with the county recorder in March 2004. The remaining three deeds were lost or destroyed after having been signed by the client. The client died on Feb. 27, 2004, and the estate’s accountant filed the estate’s federal estate tax return with the IRS on Feb. 2, 2005. That return did not list the daughter’s interests that were conveyed by the three lost or destroyed deeds. Hirst re-drafted the three missing deeds and signed the client’s name. They were recorded on April 4, 2005. During an IRS estate tax return audit, Hirst was served a summons to produce his notary log reflecting the execution of the 11 deeds and was later questioned by IRS estate tax attorneys about the deeds, including the three deeds recorded on April 4, 2005. Hirst told the IRS he found the three lost deeds in a file and recorded them, which was false since Hirst knew he signed the client’s signature to the three deeds recorded on April 4, 2005.
This is a variation of a theme we have see before.  See Cincinnati Attorney Pleads to Tax Obstruction (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 5/3/12), here.

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