Suzanne Land, a Cincinnati attorney, pleaded guilty today to obstructing and impeding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) while representing the estates of two deceased clients, the Justice Department and IRS announced. District Court Judge Herman J. Weber presided over the guilty plea hearing.
Land, who until recently was a partner at a Cincinnati law firmadmitted in court documents that from January 2010 through July 2010 she actively obstructed and impeded the IRS during two separate civil audits her clients’ estate tax returns.
According to the plea agreement and statements made in court, to conceal from the IRS the deficiencies in the documents that she drafted for her wealthy clients, Land forged the posthumous signatures of both her deceased clients and their living children on amendments to the documents. Land also misled an appraiser as to the value of the estates, created fake legal invoices that reflected work she never performed, and lied to the IRS about the circumstances surrounding the creation of the amendments. According to the terms of the plea agreement, Land admitted that the “relevant and foreseeable” tax loss that could have resulted from her obstruction was approximately $1,140,636.
Judge Weber set sentencing for Aug. 7, 2012 in Cincinnati. The maximum potential sentence for obstructing and impeding the IRS is up to three years in prison.
The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Jorge Almonte and Andrew P. Young of the Justice Department’s Tax Division handled the prosecution.