Thursday, March 14, 2013

U.S. Using a Client List of Indicted Swiss Banker/Enabler (3/14/13)

There is an interesting story that the IRS obtained a list of a Swiss Banker's clients and is using it as a road map to identify clients, prosecute some and collect money from others.  David Voreacos & Patricia Hurtado, U.S. Tax Cheats Nailed After Swiss Adviser Mails It In (Bloomberg 3/13/13), here.  The Swiss Banker is Beda Singenberger (see blogs mentioning Singenberger here.)  According to the story, he inadvertently mailed the list and it somehow ended up with the IRS or DOJ.

The article continues:
“He was sending mail to someone in the United States, and apparently in error he included a list of U.S. taxpayers,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Levy said on March 5 at the sentencing in New York of Wajsfelner. “The government has mined that list to great effect and prosecuted a number of people who were on that list.” 
* * * * 
It is not clear from court records how Singenberger’s wayward mail enclosure -- which included such client details as their residences, their Swiss banks, and the ways they hid accounts from the IRS -- found its way to prosecutors.
The article discusses some U.S. persons involved:
Now, U.S. authorities appear to be picking off the clients on that list one by one. Singenberger’s goof has already ensnared Jacques Wajsfelner, an 83-year-old exile from Nazi Germany, and Michael Canale, a retired U.S. Army surgeon, court records show. Another customer, cancer researcher Michael Reiss, pleaded guilty, though his court records don’t mention the list.
I have blogged on Wajsfelner and Reiss before.  See on Wajsfelner Credit Suisse / Wegelin Client Pleads Guilty to FBAR Violation in SDNY (8/21/12), here and on Reiss Doctor / Medical Professor / UBS Client Sentenced (1/11/12), here.  I have not previously blogged on or been aware of Canale and will post a separate blog on that containing, in part, information from this article.

Addendum 3/16:

Someone sent me this story, so I thought I would pass it one.  Bruce Krasting, A Different Version of the "Dumb" Swiss Banker Story (3/13/13), here.  According to this "different version," the "accidental" disclosure of the list was an elaborate facade by the U.S. to shake down a Swiss bank to penetrate a so-called "Double Blind" or "Belt and Suspenders" structure that was or seemed to be impenetrable.

Worth a read.  If not true, then it is good fiction -- it should be true.

1 comment:

  1. Although it's possible that the banker "accidentally" on purpose sent the list, it is also possible that he did accidentally send it to a client and the client, being nosey, read it, copied it, kept it, then used it as a get-out-of jail card or get-a-lower-penalty card.


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