(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888


Defendant Advised Clients To Conceal Money In Offshore Accounts

WASHINGTON D.C. - Eileen J. O’Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division, Department of Justice; Daniel Bogden, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada; and Nancy Jardini, Chief, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, announced today that at the federal courthouse in Reno, Nevada, Lawrence Turpen pled guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. U.S. District Judge David W. Hagen reserved his decision whether to formally accept Mr. Turpen's guilty plea until sentencing, which was scheduled for October 18, 2004.

“People who promise to eliminate taxes by hiding income and assets from the IRS are offering a sure path to trouble,” said Assistant Attorney General Eileen J. O’Connor. “Those who participate in such schemes risk criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice and a lengthy stay in federal prison. In the end, they will still owe the taxes, plus interest and possible penalties.”

“The government will not tolerate abusive tax schemes that promote the use of offshore accounts to illegally escape taxes,” said Nancy Jardini, IRS Chief, Criminal Investigation. “Those Americans who file accurate, honest and timely returns can be assured that the government will hold accountable those who don't.”

In his plea agreement, Mr. Turpen admitted that he became a full-time financial consultant specializing in international investing and tax planning, beginning in or about 1987 after retiring from a career in dentistry. He solicited clients at speaking engagements; through his 1990 book, “Offshore Options for Small Business”; and through a website advertising his products and services.

To impede the IRS from assessing and collecting of clients’ individual and business income taxes, Mr. Turpen advised his clients to conceal their personal or domestic business income in offshore entities located in countries that did not provide financial information to the United States. Mr. Turpen also helped his clients structure sham business transactions to make it appear as if their personal or domestic business income had been earned by the offshore entities. He also told clients not to report their ownership interests in the offshore entities and to use nominees or administrators to further conceal the true ownership and control. Mr. Turpen helped his clients repatriate the untaxed money by advising them to create fictitious loans from their offshore entities to pay for personal purchases, including cars and homes. He also counseled his clients to have the offshore entities pay for personal vacations or give untaxed “educational grants” to their children.

For his conviction of conspiracy to defraud the United States (18 U.S.C. §371), Mr. Turpen faces a maximum potential sentence of five years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant Attorney General O’Connor thanked Tax Division Trial Attorneys Caryn D. Mark, Edmund P. Power and John J. Kaleba, who prosecuted the case. She also thanked the special agents of the Internal Revenue Service, whose assistance was essential to the successful investigation and prosecution of the case.