Thursday, June 11, 2009

Indictment - Attorneys and Accountants

The indictment against seven individuals - "three former shareholders of the Jenkens & Gilchrist law firm (J&G), the former Chief Executive Officer and a former tax partner from the BDO Seidman accounting firm (BDO), and two former bankers from a foreign bank with headquarters in New York (Bank A)" is a top news item. The accusations are about alleged "tax fraud conspiracy and related crimes arising out of tax shelters promoted by J&G, BDO, and the bank." The DOJ Press Release is here.  The Indictment makes a point of giving some of the background of the individuals accused with crimes.  For example, that one individual previously worked for Arthur Andersen and that another had a Masters in Laws degree in Taxation.

In reading the Indictment, I kept thinking of Justice Ginsburg's words in the case of Ratzlaf v. United States - "[c]ourts have noted 'many occasions' on which persons, without violating any law, may structure transactions 'in order to avoid the impact of some regulation or tax.'" The question here will be, did the individuals cross the line, and did they commit criminal acts.

 The Indictment is here - Download Daugerdas,_Paul_et_al_Indictment


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