Wednesday, June 11, 2014

BDO Seidman Personnel Sentenced for Bullshit Tax Shelter Promotion (6/11/14)

The wave of prosecution news from the Tax Shelter storms of the late 1990s and early 2000 is now slowing to a trickle.  Here are the latest:  Patricia Hurtado, Ex-BDO Seidman Executive Bee Gets 16 Months for Fraud (1/9/14), here; and Ex-BDO partner gets 3 months in prison for tax shelter scheme (Reuters 6/10/14), here. These articles report 3 sentencings from the BDO Seidman and Jenkens & Gilchrist promotion of bullshit tax shelters.  Those convicted and their incarceration periods are:
Charles Bee, former vice chairman of BDO - 16 months
Adrian Dicker, former vice chariman of BDO - 10  months
Robert Greisman, former partner in BDO - 3 months
All of these pled and cooperated in other prosecutions, most prominently of Daugerdas, whose trials have been reported on this blog.

Bee got the most serious sentence.  Regarding his misconduct, the Bloomberg article notes (emphasis supplied by JAT):
While Bee pleaded guilty to fraud in 2009 and testified twice against BDO’s former Chief Executive Officer Denis Field, U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley in Manhattan said today he couldn’t overlook Bee’s participation in the biggest tax-shelter fraud in U.S. history.
“Your cooperation was important but your crimes are of unbelievable proportions,” Pauley said today in federal court in Manhattan. “I believe a term of imprisonment is entirely appropriate.”
Pauley said Bee, a certified public accountant, earned at least $23.6 million in fees as a result of the scheme, encouraged others at BDO to break the law and had been one of the leaders of what he called “a rogue group” at the firm. 
“Mr. Bee should have come forward a lot earlier than he did,” Pauley said. “Had he done so, this horrific scheme wouldn’t have gone as far as it did.” 
The judge said that while he found Bee’s testimony to be credible and his cooperation significant, “it doesn’t change the fact that he helped perpetrate one of the largest tax frauds in the history of the United States.” 
Blatant Criminality 
Both defense lawyer Michael Hueston and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nanette Davis today argued that Bee deserved leniency, citing his aid to the government. Davis said federal prosecutors and investigators interviewed 50 to 75 BDO partners about the scheme before Bee agreed to discuss his crimes and said he was the most forthcoming of the cooperators. 
“Bee was the most candid about blatant criminality that went on there,” Davis said. “It was a refreshing change and for that reason, the government moves for a substantial departure” from the potential life term which Bee faced because the fraud scheme was larger than $400 million. 
The judge said Bee knew the tax shelters would have been disallowed by the Internal Revenue Service and had lied during a 2005 deposition in a lawsuit. 
Davis said Bee has forfeited at least three homes, including a residence in Florida worth $3.5 million and a 40-foot trailer.
I have bold-faced the part about the Government's request for downward variance from  the indicated potential life term.  This is a reminder of the benefits of the early plea and cooperation and the judge's substantial Booker discretion.

The judge also ordered $69.4 in restitution against all three.

The tax loss apparently was $1.5 billion.


  1. The Heritage Foundation has weighed in on FATCA.

  2. Victoria Marie FeraugeJune 11, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Mr. Townsend, Though I would chime in here as a member of both ACA and AARO (I live in the Paris area so I do more work with the latter). I don't represent either org but I think I can comment and give you my personal view.

    Believe me, we are trying. ACA and AARO have worked together for years. Today ACA literallly has someone on the ground in Washington dedicated to working on RBT and AARO's been on the banking discrimination problem. I was part of the delegation that went to Washington for Overseas Americans Week and we saw Nina Olson (live), the JCT, a whole host of other 3 letter agencies AND the American Bankers Association and I don't know how many Congressional reps and we hit them again and again with the stories. (A lot of those reps already knew there was some sort of problem out there but there is talk that the problem is a limited one that will be resolved once all those IGA's will be implemented. Huh?)

    But here's the thing - the stories and constituents' letters are not enough. The folks in Washington are trying to understand the nature and magnitude of the problem and they want DATA. Hard facts - which banks, what kind of accounts, which countries (and is there a difference between IGA and non-IGA countries?) and so on and so forth.

    Now that we know what they want, AARO designed a survey to gather that info.. It's available here:

    Any help you and anyone else reading this could give us to get the word out would be greatly appreciated.

    And I just have to say (personal view here) that after all this work if they still don't sit up and do something, I may just go out there to the Place de la Concorde with a big sign and plant myself in front of the consulate and do my very best to embarass the hell out of them.

  3. Thanks, Just_Me_Also.

    See my reply to Ms. Ferauge above. I extend to you the same invitation to write a guest blog or, perhaps, the two of you could co-write a guest blog.

    If you write a guest blog, I would recommend that it be principally focused on the phenomenon of expats being denied normal banking services because they are U.S. citizens. You can, of course, state displeasure, dislike, loathing with FATCA, but keep that short and then develop the reasons that the IRS and Congress should find a fix that will make local banking services more available to expats.

    Thanks again,


  4. Thanks Jack...

    Just heading out the door, but will read and digest your suggestion when I get back from clearing my head in the non FATCA trees and mountain ridges. :)

    BTW, I need just see this yesterday about Banamex in Mexico closing out American Accounts. If true, this is a big news story for retirees living in Mexico

  5. Jack, I am also an ACA member and the ACA position papers can be seen at the following page of their website and in the sidebar of that page.

    ACA is putting a major focus on Residence Based Taxation for Americans residing abroad. The consequences of FATCA for Americans resident abroad are a result of one of many poorly thought out legislations in the international area that impact Americans abroad. While its consequences in terms of closed bank accounts is major for US citizens abroad, addressing FATCA alone will not solve all the issues that Americans abroad have to deal with. Residence based taxation would solve most of them.

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