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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Berkeley Psychologist Sentenced To More Than Two Years In Prison For Tax Evasion And Theft Of Government Property

OAKLAND – Hugh Leslie Baras, was sentenced today to thirty months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $593,513 to the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration for tax evasion and theft of government property, United States Attorney Melinda Haag, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez announced.

On Feb. 3, 2014, Baras, 70, a Berkeley psychologist, was convicted by a jury of five counts of tax evasion, in violation of Title 26, U.S.C. § 7201, and one count of theft of government property, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. § 641. The evidence presented during the seven-day trial, showed that Baras, who formerly worked as a psychologist at Kaiser Permanente, and as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, started a solo, private practice in Palo Alto, Calif., in late 2002. At his private practice, Baras provided clinical psychotherapy services to clients. During the years 2005 through 2009, Baras’s private practice generated over $1,000,000 of income. Although he filed timely federal income tax returns for each of these years, Baras omitted all of the income produced by his private practice from those returns. In addition, although he was self-employed and earning substantial income, Baras continued to collect Disability Insurance Benefits from the Social Security Administration. Between 2006 and 2009, Baras received Disability Insurance Benefits payments to which he was not entitled totaling $80,615. Also during this period, Baras sold nearly $600,000 worth of gold and silver coins to a coin-broker in Oakland. These sales created capital gains which Baras also failed to report on his tax returns.

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, United States District Court Judge, in Oakland. Judge Gonzalez Rogers also sentenced Baras to a three-year period of supervised release, ordered him to forfeit $80,615, and to pay a fine of $7,500. Baras was ordered to self-surrender for service of his sentence on Sept. 29, 2014.

Michael G. Pitman is the Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the United States Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.

(Baras superseding indictment )