On March 12, 2014, the IRS and the DOJ announced that Andreas Bachmann, 56, of Switzerland, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in connection with his work as a banking and investment adviser for U.S. customers. It appears (at least from the perspective of an FBAR Tax Attorney St Louis) that Mr. Bachmann helped his U.S. customers conceal assets in secret Swiss Bank Accounts and other tax havens.
FBAR Tax Attorney St Louis: Background Information
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Mr. Bachmann admitted that between 1994 and 2006, while working as a relationship manager in Switzerland for a subsidiary of an international bank, he engaged in a wide-ranging conspiracy to aid and assist U.S. customers in evading their income taxes by concealing assets and income in secret Swiss bank accounts. Moreover, Mr. Bachmann traveled to the United States twice each year to provide banking services and investment advice to his U.S. customers (note from FBAR Tax Attorney St Louis: this could have been critical information for building the IRS case against Mr. Bachmann).
According to the IRS, Mr. Bachmann also engaged in cash transactions while traveling in the United States. In the course of arranging meetings with U.S. customers, some clients would request that Mr. Bachmann either provide them with cash as withdrawals from their undeclared accounts or take cash from them as a deposit to their undeclared accounts. As part of that process, Mr. Bachmann agreed to receive cash from U.S. customers and used that cash to pay withdrawals to other U.S. clients.
The IRS describes how, in one instance, Mr. Bachmann received $50,000 in cash from one U.S. customer in New York City and intended to deliver the money to another U.S. client in Southern Florida. Airport officials in New York discovered the cash but let Mr. Bachmann keep the money after questioning him (note from FBAR Tax Attorney St Louis: by that time, the IRS was probably already taking interest in Mr. Bachmann). The client in Florida refused to take the money after the client learned about the questioning by New York airport officials, and Mr. Bachmann returned to Switzerland with the $50,000 in cash in his checked baggage. Mr. Bachmann advised the executive management of the subsidiary about the incident with the cash.
The IRS further alleges that Mr. Bachmann also understood that a number of his U.S. customers concealed their ownership and control of foreign financial accounts by holding those accounts in the names of nominee tax haven entities, or structures, which were frequently created in the form of foreign partnerships, trusts, corporations or foundations.
FBAR Tax Attorney St Louis: IRS is Pleased
The IRS and the DOJ seem to be pleased with the result of their investigation. “Today’s plea is just the latest step in our wide-ranging investigations into Swiss banking activities and demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to global enforcement against those that facilitate offshore tax evasion,” said Deputy Attorney General Cole. “We fully expect additional developments over the course of the coming months.”
Mr. Bachmann was charged in a one-count superseding indictment on July 21, 2011, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced on August 8, 2014.
FBAR Tax Attorney St Louis: IRS and DOJ Are Stepping Up Criminal Enforcement of FBARs and International Tax Laws of the United States
As I predicted earlier, the IRS and the DOJ are in high gear of criminal enforcement of FBARs and international tax laws of the United States. As they work through the mountains of information that they received from the U.S. taxpayers participating in the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (now closed) and the defendants, like Mr. Bachmann, I fully expect the enforcement efforts to increase in the near future.
Moreover, with the new information disclosed by the Swiss banks as part of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) The Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks (the “Program”), the IRS will get an unprecedented new fountain of information that will allow it to reach ever further.
FBAR Tax Attorney St Louis: U.S. Taxpayers with Undisclosed Bank Accounts Should Consider Their Voluntary Disclosure Options As Soon As Possible
Given the fact that a large number of Swiss banks that participate in the Program will disclose all of their U.S.-held bank accounts by April 30, 2014 (assuming they have not already disclosed them), U.S. taxpayers with undisclosed accounts in Switzerland must act as soon as possible and consider their voluntary disclosure options. Failure to do so may result in the imposition of willful civil and even criminal penalties.
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With Undisclosed Swiss Accounts
Sherayzen Law Office can help you with the voluntary disclosure of your Swiss accounts. Owner and attorney Eugene Sherayzen is an international tax expert in this field. He will thoroughly analyze the facts of your case and explain to you the available voluntary disclosure options. After you choose the voluntary disclosure option, our firm can prepare all legal documents and tax forms required for your voluntary disclosure, fully implement the ethically available strategies and rigorously defend your position against the IRS.