UH Tax Fraud and Money Laundering Class Page (5/11/15)

IMPORTANT - THIS PAGE WAS FOR THE CLASS AT UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON LAW SCHOOL ON TAX FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING IN THE SPRING OF 2015.  SINCE THAT TIME, I HAVE MOVED FROM HOUSTON AND NO LONGER TEACH THERE.  MY CO-TEACHER WILL BE TEACHING IN THE SPRING OF 2017, BUT WILL HAVE ANOTHER MEDIUM THROUGH WHICH TO COORDINATE WITH STUDENTS.  SO, PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CONTENT MAY BE OUT OF DATE.


This page is for students  in the Spring 2015 University of Houston Law School Tax Fraud and Money Laundering Class.  This page will provide information and links for the students.
  1. The class schedule is here.  (Students should also as the first order of business email to Professor Townsend the student information requested on the linked page (also below).)   
  2. The book for the class is the 2015 edition of Townsend, Campagna, Johnson & Schumacher, Tax Crimes (Lexis-Nexis 2015).  The hard copy publication of this text will not be available until some time during the semester.  In the meantime, the final edition of the chapters that will be covered will be circulated by email to the students.  Students should email Jack Townsend at jack@tjtaxlaw.com to request to be put on the mailing list for the pdf copies.
  3. Students should have easy access to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 USC, particularly the criminal provisions of that Code (§§ 7201 ff.), and to the Federal Criminal Code, 18 USC.  A good online resource for these Codes is the Cornell's Legal Information Institute.  An example of the URL for obtaining IRC sections is: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/7201.  (This link is for § 7201; for other sections, simply substitute the section number for 7201.)  The format for Federal Criminal Code is the same except that 26 in the URL becomes 18 and, of course, the Code section should be applied.
  4. Regulations and materials outside the book are not generally required.
  5. There will be some updates provided below.  Students who are interested in the general tax crimes subject may want to read the Federal Tax Crimes Blog, but that is not an assignment for the class.  Where there is some blog entry that we think may be of benefit to students, we will link to it in the update information below.
  6. The contact information for the professors is at the top of the class schedule linked above in paragraph 1.
Student Information:  As soon as possible, each student should email Jack Townsend (jack@tjtaxlaw.com) the following information:
Cell phone number:
preferred email address for class communications.
Current employer:
Work phone number:
Degree program (JD / LLM):
If LLM, where did you get your JD degree:
Personal Goals for Class:
Prior work experience (after college, such as law, CPA, accounting:
Updates:

Chapter 2b - Section 7212(a) Omnibus Clause - Tax Obstruction
On p. 98-100, we offer the case of United States v. Kassouf, 144 F.3d 952 (6th Cir. 1998) and the subsequent decision in United States v. Bowman, 173 F.3d 595 (6th Cir. 1999). Consistent with the obstruction statute in 18 USC 1503, Kassouf held that the defendant must have intended his obstructive conduct to influence a pending IRS proceeding.  The Kassouf holding, never found traction in other circuits.  As we note on p. 100, even in the in the Sixth Circuit, a subsequent case, United States v. Bowman, 173 F.3d 595 (6th Cir. 1999), appeared to leave the Kassouf holding an empty precedent for the future.  It looked like there was unanimity among the courts that a pending IRS proceeding was not required.  But, in  United States v. Miner, 774 F.3d 336 (6th Cir. 2014), here, the Sixth Circuit breathed new life into Kassouf. The Court said that, under its precedence rulings, Kassouf was still viable and that Bowman did not and could not change the holding of Kassouf as precedent in the Sixth Circuit.  I discuss Miner further in the following blog:  Sixth Circuit Holds that § 7212(a)'s Omnibus Clause Requires Knowledge of a Pending Proceeding / Action and Intent to Obstruct (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 12/13/14), here.  According to the Pacer System as of 2/11/15, after receiving an extension through 1/26/15 to file a petition for rehearing en banc, the Government appears not to have filed a motion for rehearing en banc on the indicated due date and the mandate issued on 2/3/15.  Somewhat inconsistently, the Government filed four separate Notices of Appearance on 1/22/15; the docket sheet does not explain that activity which would seem to suggest that, as of 1/22/15, the Government intended to file a petition for rehearing en banc.  One explanation of the Government's failure to file the petition for rehearing is that it could have decided to seek Supreme Court review.  However, given that no other circuit has accepted the Kassouf holding, it would seem that the Government would first petition for rehearing in Miner before seeking certiorari.
Chapter 3 par. 5.B. Elements for Crime of False Statements, pp. 152-3:
Based on strong criticisms of the authority that false statement crime can be charged without proof of that the defendant knew that giving the false statement was illegal, the Department of Justice has adopted a policy to not charge unless it can  prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew that giving the false statement was illegal.  See the following blog entries:  See False Statements Crime Element of "Knowingly and Willfully" Requires Proving Knowledge that Making False Statement Is Illegal (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 6/26/14), here.  For some nuance from the first case to reach the Court of Appeals after that change, see Ninth Circuit Affirms False Statement Conviction Without Instruction that Willfulness Requires Knowledge of Illegality of the False Statement (1/31/15), here (ducking the issue of whether, in a Circuit where the Court of Appeals had held that knowledge of illegality was not required, a district court could instruct a jury that knowledge of illegality was required.  In other words, can DOJ change in policy trump law as previously determined in a precedential opinion?

EXAMINATION QUESTION:

I sent the following by email to the class on 5/19/15 and post it here as well:
A student has posted the following: 
I recall professor Townsend saying that because we used PDF's of the book, our computers will not be locked and we can use Word to type the exam, and thus work off electronic copies of our notes. I just wanted to clarify that was the case before I printed everything.  
The responses to the questions/ recollections are: 
1. Computers will not be locked. 
2. You can use your word processor of choice.  For most, perhaps all, of you, that will be MS Word. 
3.  You can work off the electronic copies of your notes and of the text in pdf format. 
4.  You are not allowed to cut and paste. 
Here are the complete instructions (which I also attach as a pdf). Please read them carefully in advance of the examination: 
Instructions
1.            Resource Materials: Students may use only the following in the examination either in hardcopy format or on your computer:
                a.            the text book;
                b.            the Internal Revenue Code and the LEXIS-NEXIS Criminal Code we handed out;
                c.             the student's personal notes.
                d.            by internet, the Sentencing Guidelines. 
2.            The examination is two hours. 
3.            You may use computers and your wordprocessor software of choice.  You may not cut and paste from any materials you have on your computer. 
4.            You may use Code Sections and terms of art so long as you give sufficient indication that you know what you are talking about. 
5.            Please read the questions carefully. Answer the questions asked.\ 
6.            Please think your answer through, preferably outlining your answer, before you start answering.  Succinct, correct answers are valued – that is, graded higher – over long, unfocused correct answers. 
7.            Please number/letter your answers using the same number/letter used in the question. For example, if the question to which you are responding is 2.a., mark your answer 2.a. 
8.            If you handwrite your exam, please write legibly.  Lawyers must communicate. You are not communicating if we can't read your writing. Your grade will suffer if you do not communicate your knowledge to us (on the other hand, it might suffer if you do, but we hope that is not the case). 
9.            Please indicate on your blue book (or other examination answer paper) or on your computer file both your student ID and whether you are an LL.M. or J.D. candidate. 
10.          The percentages at the beginning of each paragraph and subparagraph number are guides for the relative importance of the questions and answers. You may use these guides to budget your time.