Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fourth Circuit Affirms Conviction Involving Foreign Bank Accounts (6/12/12)

In United States v. Hamelink, ___ 2012 U.S. LEXIS ___ (2012), here, a per curiam nonprecedential opinion, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a conviction for one count of conspiracy to defraud (Klein conspiracy).  The defendant was sentenced to 27 months, at the low end of the Guidelines range of 27-33 months.  He could have been sentenced to 60 months for the count of conviction.

The defendant's attorney filed an Anders brief, Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), saying essentially that "she has found no meritorious issues, but questions the constitutionality of the sentencing enhancement Hamelink received for the amount of tax loss."  The following is from the opinion (emphasis supplied by JAT):
At his guilty plea hearing, Hamelink admitted that, despite earning substantial income from his business, he failed to file any income tax returns.  Hamelink also admitted that he had taken a variety of steps to conceal his income and assets from the IRS, including the use of bogus trusts, nominee entities, and related domestic and foreign bank accounts.  In the plea agreement, Hamelink stipulated that the amount of tax loss known, or reasonably foreseeable, to him was more than $1 million but less than $2.5 million, and that the base offense level was 22. 
The Court summarily found no basis for reversal and affirmed, with standard language on counsel's responsibilities under Anders.

It is unclear whether this case arose from the offshore initiative.  The standard plea offer at least in the early stages of the offshore initiative was to one plea for an FBAR violation or one plea of tax perjury.  Nonetheless, use of offshore accounts was one of the acts having a tendency to impair or impede the functions of the IRS.

I will try to post an update on the spreadsheet with the information on this conviction later this morning.

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