April 7, 2010
U.S. begins new wave of UBS client tax fraud and evasion cases
U.S. prosecutors are beginning a new wave of UBS-related tax-evasion cases against individuals ahead of the April 15 tax-filing deadline, sources familiar with the proceedings said on April 6, 2010. The first case in the new round of prosecutions — intended to create a splash of media attention before tax day — was filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, where many of the cases have been prosecuted, according to court documents. The sources, who were not authorized to comment on the record, said cases coming within days will charge individuals with evading U.S. taxes by using accounts at the Swiss bank and will be prosecuted in New York City and elsewhere.
The government has secured eight guilty pleas so far from UBS clients since the bank admitted that it helped taxpayers avoid U.S. taxes. UBS last year paid the government $780 million and gave information about 250 accounts to the U.S. authorities. UBS AG client Paul Zabczuk of Woodlands, Texas, pleaded guilty to failing to account for funds held in a UBS account in Switzerland. Also last year, UBS settled the government's civil case against it and agreed to hand over 4,450 more client names, though that deal is tied up in legal wrangling in Switzerland.
The Internal Revenue Service and its lawyers want to make a "big splash" to remind people of their duty to report offshore income, one source said. The cases prosecuted so far involved UBS clients with accounts in the range of $10 million and less. Two sources said some of the new cases would be within that range. On April 5, Commissioner Shulman said the agency is still sifting through an additional 15,000 records it received from individuals who took part in an IRS amnesty program for offshore income that ended last year. The agency is looking for patterns in the records to identify other banks and advisers that helped wealthy individuals avoid taxes. That area will be "the next wave," of the investigation, Shulman said, without naming other banks.