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Twenty-five people have been charged with tax evasion in connection with their accounts held with the Swiss bank UBS. Two of them are California residents, living in or near San Diego. The Justice Department has identified Bernard Goldstein of Carlsbad and Jeffrey Chatfield of San Diego as offshore bank account holders believed to be hiding money from the IRS.

Bernard Goldstein is a Canadian citizen who has apparently fled the U.S. His whereabouts are not known. He was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to defraud the IRS, filing false tax returns and failing to report foreign accounts.

Goldstein is accused of using UBS bank accounts from 1992 through 2008 under his own name and that of a sham Panamanian corporation named Kasler Management Corp. The accounts held more than two and a half million dollars as of 2003. The accounts were opened in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

Goldstein owns MG Export-Import Inc. The California-based company at one time exported oil pipeline products to Russia.

Jeffrey Chatfield has pled guilty to filing a false tax return and has agreed to pay a penalty of 50% of the highest balance in his Swiss UBS account. Chatfield is free on bail pending sentencing in February 2011, and faces a possible three years in prison.

Chatfield opened a Swiss bank account through UBS Bahamas in 2000 with around $900,000 in untaxed income from his consulting work, which included advising private companies seeking to go public. The money was transferred several times and held under two names: Alder West and Iberia West.

UBS recently provided the names and account information for 4,500 customers to the IRS. As a result, the IRS dropped its legal action against the bank last week.

IRS Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller said, “This is part of a continuing effort by the IRS and Justice Department to combat international tax evasion. These actions send a clear, unmistakable message to anyone who tries to use international borders to evade federal taxes.”

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune “IRS charges San Diego County men in Swiss bank case” 11/23/2010