Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Another Offshore Account Guilty Plea (5/15/2018)

I recently reported on the district court resolution of pretrial motions in an offshore account case charging tax obstruction (§ 7212(a)), tax perjury (§ 7206(1)), and conspiracy (18 USC § 371).  See Pretrial Order Excluding Government Evidence in Criminal Tax Case for Offshore Accounts (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 4/22/18), here, discussing  United States v. Doyle, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66980 (S.D. N.Y. 2018), here.  Shortly after that disposition, the defendant in the case, Lacy Doyle, pled guilty to one count of tax perjury, § 7206(1), a three year felony.  See SDNY USAO press release, here.  (Note the USAO press release does not mention the count for the plea, but I have confirmed from other sources that it was tax perjury; I could not find any plea documents on Pacer as of today.)

Key excerpts from the USAO press release:
As alleged in the Indictment and other documents filed in the case, DOYLE, assisted by others – including Beda Singenberger, a Swiss citizen who ran a financial advisory firm – established and maintained undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland and hid those accounts from the IRS.  DOYLE used a sham entity to conceal from the IRS her ownership of some of the undeclared accounts and deliberately failed to report to the IRS the accounts and the income generated in the accounts. 
In 2003, DOYLE’s father died, and DOYLE was appointed the executor of her father’s estate.  At that time, DOYLE and her father jointly held an account at Credit Suisse with a value of approximately $3,700,000.  DOYLE then made court filings falsely stating under penalty of perjury that the total value of her father’s estate was under $1 million when, in truth and fact, it was more than four times that amount.  Doyle initially held the secret inheritance from her father in an account at Credit Suisse under her own name.
Thereafter, in 2006, DOYLE, with Singenberger’s assistance, opened an undeclared Swiss bank account for the purpose of depositing the secret inheritance from her father.  The account was opened in the name of a sham foundation formed under the laws of Lichtenstein to conceal DOYLE’s ownership.  As of May 15, 2007, the account held assets valued at approximately $5,056,548. 
In 2010, the sham foundation controlled by DOYLE was re-domiciled from Lichtenstein to Panama.  As of December 31, 2016, the sham foundation maintained assets of at least approximately $3,028,562.
JAT Comments:

1.  My blog on the original indictment is Another Offshore Account Indictment (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 7/30/16), here.  There was a superseding indictment that I have not obtained, but is described in the prior blog.

2.  One press report indicated that she is subject to restitution of $10,254, which presumably was in the plea agreement (not available on Pacer as of today), and ordered to pay an unspecified amount of taxes and penalties (and presumably interest) for the years 2007 to 2016.  If quantified prior to sentencing, I presume the amount could be in the restitution order.

3.  It is odd that, given the apparent gravity of the charges and conduct alleged, that she would get a one-count tax perjury plea.  Early in the process of indicting offshore account tax violators, the Government would offer the defendant a plea to either one count of tax perjury or one count of FBAR violation.  But, I thought that that "deal" was not the standard offer any more.  Perhaps, having lost on the reported pretrial motions, the Government was in a weaker position to demand a stronger or more counts.  However, the truth is that Guidelines range will likely be within the 3-year maximum for the count of the plea and, in any event, there is likely to be Booker downward variance.  Thus, even if additional counts or more serious felony counts had been included in the plea, the sentence will not be affected.  (In this regard, in my experience, it is standard for the PSR to state exactly that.)

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