Nevada Author Pleads Guilty to Promoting Tax Fraud Scheme
Las Vegas, Nev. - A former dentist-turned financial consultant who advised clients to conceal their income in offshore entities has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the IRS, a felony, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, Eileen J. O'Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Tax Division, and Nancy Jardini, Chief of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. LAWRENCE TURPEN, of Reno, entered his guilty plea this morning before United States District Judge David W. Hagen. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
"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, LAWRENCE TURPEN admitted that he became a full-time financial consultant specializing in international investing and tax planning, beginning in approximately 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 his clients' individual and business income taxes, LAWRENCE TURPEN advised them to conceal their personal or domestic business income in offshore entities located in countries that did not provide financial information to the United States. TURPEN 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. TURPEN also 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.
LAWRENCE TURPEN is scheduled to be sentenced on October 18, 2004, at 10:30 a.m., whereupon Judge Hagen will formally accept his guilty plea. He is released on bond pending sentencing.
Assistant Attorney General O'Connor thanked U.S. Department of Justice 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 Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, whose assistance was essential to the successful investigation and prosecution of the case.