Federal law enforcement officials have increased the efforts to curb financial crimes in Florida recently. They have collaborated with a variety of state agencies to stem the tide of such crimes in the Sunshine State. However, some are still happening, as evidenced by a tax evasion case now in the court system.
The man who is the central character in the case, 58, was a high-ranking banker. Along with other financial services professionals, he was charged due to alleged involvement in offshore tax evasion. Florida has long been a popular venue for those looking to connect with representatives of offshore accounts.
The man accused in this case allegedly worked with clients to hide a staggering $20 billion in Swiss accounts. That money was hid from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Because of those funds, the man was pursued by authorities, ultimately being arrested in Italy and indicted.
For the record, he denies any wrongdoing. His attorney says that he was unaware of anything illegal happening. The company he led, Zurich-based UBS, is implicated in the hiding of funds from the IRS.
That company admitted to having been complicit in multiple instances of tax evasion. It paid the U.S. government $780 million to avoid prosecution. It also released data about 250 client accounts in a first round, followed by 4,450 more in a second round.
Observers following the case speculate that the man may help authorities and avoid prosecution. His attorney has refused to comment on the possibility. In the meantime, a judge is deciding whether to set bail for the man or not.
Tax evasion is a serious crime, with serious penalties. However, it's important to remember that an arrest does not equal guilt. That must be proven by the prosecution in court and beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal defense attorneys build strong defense cases for their clients, while ensuring their rights are protected as the case moved through the court system.
Source: Bloomberg Business Week, "Ex-UBS Banker Weil Faces Judge as Deal on Tax-Evasion Seen" David Voreacos, Dec. 16, 2013