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Defending Against Tax Evasion Charges

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If you’ve been accused of misrepresenting income levels to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you could be in big trouble!  Literally hundreds of billions of dollars are reportedly lost every year due to tax evasion, so when prosecutors think they’ve discovered a case worth pursuing, they take it very seriously! To be clear, state and federal entities may pursue these kinds of charges, although white-collar crimes are generally under the authority of federal agencies.  A collective effort by the FBI, IRS, and SEC could add up to a precarious situation for the target of such a criminal case.

A Peek at the Trump Organization Case 

Currently, the 45th president’s real estate company is facing charges related to the alleged failure to report a number of high-priced benefits certain employees received, thus perpetrating a huge tax dodge. Alan Weisselberg, the company’s CFO and the recipient of said benefits, is at the center of the case, accused of skipping out on about $1 million in taxes. That’s because the U.S. tax code requires fringe benefits (except for things like health insurance) to be counted as income, meaning taxes must be paid on their value.  And while there are some grey areas where it’s difficult to determine if a benefit is a necessity for the job or an actual fringe benefit, the allegations involving Weisselberg seem to be quite clearly outside that questionable area.

Penalties for Tax Evasion 

If convicted of tax evasion, you could be looking at substantial fines and/or prison time. A single felony charge carries a sentence of 5 years behind bars, and up to $100,000 in fines for an individual and $500,000 for a corporation. Additionally, you could be responsible for all legal costs associated with the case.  Federal sentencing guidelines provide the opportunity for the courts to calibrate sentences relative to the facts of the case.

Proving the Crime 

Prosecutors will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have a tax liability and that you took deliberate steps to evade that liability. This can be a difficult thing to accomplish due to the multitude of transactions that typically encompass these cases.  Even if you are the president of a corporation and claim to have no knowledge of the crime—and can demonstrably prove as much—you can be held legally accountable based on the Responsible Corporate Officer (RCO) doctrine, which states that as a leader in a particular organization, you were in a position of authority and should have been aware of what was going on.

Fighting the Good Fight 

If you are facing tax evasion or other white collar criminal charges, you simply will not survive the onslaught of multiple federal agencies without a top-notch criminal defense lawyer at your side.  At Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., our Kissimmee federal crime lawyers are prepared to do what it takes to provide the best legal defense possible.  Contact us in our office for a confidential consultation today.

Resource:

slate.com/business/2021/07/trump-organization-allen-weisselberg-charges-tax-evasion-fringe-benefits.html

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