WASHINGTON - Robert Moran, of Lighthouse Point, Fla., pleaded guilty today to a criminal information charging him with filing a false income tax return, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. Moran appeared today before Judge James I. Cohn in Ft. Lauderdale and accepted responsibility for concealing more than $3 million in assets in a secret bank account at UBS in Switzerland.
According to court records, on or about Oct. 14, 2008, Moran, a Ft. Lauderdale yacht broker, filed a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return Form 1040 for tax year 2007, which he signed under the penalties of perjury. The tax return failed to report that Moran had an interest in, or signature authority over, a financial account at UBS in Switzerland. Additionally, Moran failed to report the income he earned on any UBS Swiss bank accounts.
According to court records, Moran was the beneficial owner of a UBS account in the name of Winter Drive Investments S.A., a nominee Panamanian corporation. From 2001 through 2008, Moran communicated with bankers at UBS via email, telephone and in person about the purchase and sale of securities, and the conversion of investments from U.S. dollars to Euros.
Judge Cohn scheduled sentencing for June 26, 2009. Moran faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
"With the filing deadline imminent, most American taxpayers are filing their tax returns and paying the taxes that they owe," said John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "Honest taxpayers should rest assured that those who hide assets and income from the IRS face investigation, prosecution, and steep fines and jail time."
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 agreed to provide the U.S. government with the identities of, and account information for, certain United States customers of UBS’s cross-border business.
On April 2, 2009, another UBS client, Steven Michael Rubinstein, was charged with filing a false income tax return via a criminal complaint. Rubinstein, of Boca Raton, Florida, is alleged to have failed to report income and assets in a secret Swiss bank account.
"Just two weeks ago, the Southern District of Florida and the Tax Division charged the first UBS client with filing a false tax return. This week, we charge yet another," said R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. "We will continue to prosecute those who use offshore schemes to avoid paying their taxes. If you are hiding income abroad, I suggest you approach us."
"Combating offshore tax evasion continues to be one of the IRS's top priorities," said IRS Deputy Commissioner Linda Stiff. "With each passing day, it is increasingly clear the IRS is committed to pursuing people hiding income offshore. Anyone in this situation needs to immediately come in through our voluntary disclosure process before it's too late. It's better to come clean now instead of waiting and facing a heavier price later."
Acting Assistant Attorney General DiCicco and U.S. Attorney Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the IRS agents involved in this case. The prosecution is being handled by Senior Litigation Counsel Kevin M. Downing and Trial Attorney Michael P. Ben’Ary of the Tax Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Neiman.
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.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/.