WASHINGTON – Roberto Cittadini of Bellevue, Wash., pleaded guilty today to filing a false tax return, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. Cittadini appeared today before Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler in Seattle and accepted responsibility for concealing nearly $2 million in Swiss bank accounts. According to court documents and statements made in court, Cittadini, a retired sales manager for Boeing, failed to report income from bank accounts under his control at UBS AG in Switzerland on his individual income tax returns from 2001 through 2003. Additionally, Cittadini failed to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (F-BAR) for each of these years.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Cittadini initially opened an account with UBS in the early 1990s in his own name. In approximately 2001, Swiss banker Hansruedi Schumaker, who was indicted in August 2009 for conspiring to defraud the United States, assisted Cittadini in transferring the assets from his UBS account to an account held in the name Mataropa Finance Limited, a nominee Hong Kong corporation. Cittadini transferred his assets to the Hong Kong entity to evade U.S. reporting and withholding requirements. Additionally, Swiss lawyer Matthias W. Rickenbach, who also was indicted in August 2009, acted as the director of the Hong Kong nominee corporation. From 2001 through 2003, Cittadini held as much as $1.86 million in assets in the Mataropa Finance Limited account at UBS in Switzerland.
Magistrate Judge Theiler scheduled sentencing for Jan. 8, 2010. Cittadini faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Additionally, Cittadini agreed to pay a civil F-BAR penalty based on 50 percent of the highest account balance from 2001 to 2007.
"Today’s guilty plea in Washington state follows guilty pleas in New Jersey, California and Florida," said John A DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "Individuals all over the country who are hiding income and assets in offshore accounts would be well-advised to promptly come in and come clean before the government learns about their accounts through other channels."
"This is a time of reckoning for those who thought they had found a safe haven for cheating," said United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "People who avoid paying their fair share hurt all of us who follow the law and conscientiously pay our taxes."
"The IRS continues its pursuit of those hiding their income and assets in offshore accounts," said IRS Chief Criminal Investigation, Eileen Mayer. "People must meet their filing requirements and pay the taxes they owe, or they face potential criminal prosecution. We encourage people who have been hiding money offshore to come forward by Oct. 15 to take advantage of the special provisions in our voluntary disclosure effort."
In February 2009, UBS entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in which the bank admitted to helping U.S. taxpayers hide accounts from the IRS. As part of their agreement, UBS provided the United States government with the identities of, and account information for, certain U.S. customers of UBS’s cross-border business.
In June 2009, UBS client Steven Michael Rubinstein, a Boca Raton, Fla., accountant, pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return. In April 2009, another UBS client, Robert Moran, a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., yacht broker, pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return. In July 2009, UBS client Jeffrey Chernick, of Stanfordville, N.Y., pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return. In August 2009, UBS client John McCarthy, a resident of Malibu, Calif., agreed to plead guilty to failing to report his ownership of and interest in a foreign financial account. In September 2009, UBS client Juergenn Homann of Saddle River, N.J. pleaded guilty to failure to file a F-BAR.
Acting Assistant Attorney General DiCicco and U.S. Attorney Durkan commended the IRS agents who investigated the case, as well as Trial Attorney Michael J. Watling of the Tax Division who is prosecuting the case.
United States citizens who have an interest in, or signature or other authority over, a financial account in a foreign country with assets in excess of $10,000 are required to disclose the existence of such account on Schedule B, Part III of their individual income tax return. Additionally, American citizens much file an F-BAR with the U.S. Treasury, disclosing any financial account in a foreign country with assets in excess of $10,000 for which they have a financial interest in or signature authority, or other authority over.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/.