Christopher B. Berg of Portola Valley, Calif., was sentenced yesterday to one year and one day in prison to be followed by three years supervised release, announced Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division Kathryn Keneally and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag for the Northern District of California. Prior to sentencing, Berg paid restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of more than $250,000 as well as a penalty of $287,896 for failure to properly report his foreign account. Berg previously pleaded guilty to willfully failing to file the required report of foreign bank account for an account he controlled in 2005 at UBS in Switzerland that had a balance over $10,000.
According to court documents, Berg began working as a consultant in 1999. In 2000, Berg met with Beda Singenberger, a Swiss financial consultant, and a vice president of banking at UBS in San Francisco regarding setting up a bank account at UBS in Switzerland to shelter a portion of his consulting income from taxation. Beginning in 2001 and continuing through 2005, Berg used wire transfers to deposit $642,070 in earned income into UBS accounts. Berg used money in these Swiss UBS accounts to purchase a vehicle, to obtain cash while in Europe and to pay the balance on a Eurocard he used while traveling in Europe. Berg did not disclose the existence of his accounts at UBS in Switzerland to his certified public accountant, and also failed to disclose the income earned by these accounts or the consulting income deposited to the accounts. The tax harm associated with Berg’s conduct exceeded $250,000.
The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant Chiefs Elizabeth C. Hadden and Margaret Leigh Kessler of the Tax Division.