Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Florida father and son convicted of tax fraud

A federal jury in Florida has convicted a father and son of tax fraud and evasion, citing $33 million in proceeds from the sale of their hotel brand hidden in a Swiss account and other proof of a lifestyle that didn't match their modest stated income.

Prosecutors accused Mauricio Cohen Assor, 77, and his son, Leon Cohen Levy, 46, of concealing vast wealth “through a web of lies, forged documents, and false statements.” Attorneys for the defendants denied that the men hid ownership of $46 million in Miami beach homes, $45 million in investments, and $55 million in cars. He claimed that the men never knowingly broke the law, and said prosecutors presented an “Alice in Wonderland” case that broke from reality.

Both men now face up to 11 years in prison. Tax lawyers have been following this case closely as it is the first trial for offshore tax evasion since the Justice Department began a crackdown in March 2009, the New York Times reports.