A northern California attorney known for suing businesses for violations of the American With Disabilities Act, became the recent target of a federal indictment on tax fraud charges. The accusations include intentionally understating income from 2012 through 2014. If convicted, he may face with up to $100,000 fine for each count of the indictment as well as three years in prison.
When are criminal tax charges filed against a taxpayer? In this post, we answer this question. Here we must stress that it is impossible to talk your way out of these charges. And It's vital to seek legal counsel from a tax attorney at the outset of an investigation.
Intent & Burden of Proof
It is tough for the IRS to get criminal convictions in tax cases, because it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone acted willfully. That means it is serious when it brings these cases and the average prison sentence after a conviction is 48 months.
Other types of financial offenses such as embezzlement, wire fraud or money laundering may be included in an indictment as well. The tax charges are frequently the more serious and require an attorney with a background handling these unique types of matters.
When charged with criminal tax fraud, evasion or intentionally providing false information to the IRS the penalties are stiff with up to five years in prison generally on the table. Criminal fines can range from $100,000 to $500,000 before civil penalties and interest are added.
When the government brings these charges, it often has evidence of intentional acts or schemes designed to understate income or hide the transfer of assets. Getting experienced legal counsel as soon as possible can help to demonstrate that actions were misconstrued and re-frame the narrative. Quick action can make the difference in getting charges dismissed or reduced.