|United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has affirmed the convictions of Edward J.S. Picardi, age 56, a former Rapid City surgeon. Picardi is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for tax evasion.
In October 2012, Picardi was convicted by a jury of 13 separate federal felony counts, including five counts of tax evasion for years 1999 through 2003; five counts of making false statements on each of his tax returns for years 2004 through 2008; and three counts of failing to file required reports with the United States Treasury Department in 2007 through 2009 disclosing his interest in foreign accounts.
He was sentenced on May 7, 2013, and received the statutory maximum sentence of 60 months in custody for Counts 1-5 of tax evasion; 36 months for Counts 6-10 of making false statements; and 60 months for Counts 11-13 of failing to file required reports. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
Picardi appealed his convictions, asking that all 13 counts be reversed and that his case be remanded for a new jury trial. On Friday, January 10, 2014, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a published opinion rejecting each of Picardi’s appellate arguments and affirming all of his convictions.
U.S. Attorney Johnson lauded the decision. “We are very pleased with the appellate decision. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion closes the book on this case. It affirms the reasoned verdict of Dr. Picardi’s jury, which found him guilty on all thirteen tax and related financial felonies. The lesson should be very clear. No matter how elaborate your strategy and no matter what you do for a living, if you evade paying your fair share of taxes, you’ll land in federal prison,” said Johnson.
Picardi was convicted after a jury heard evidence that he sent his earnings from his surgical practice through a complicated offshore network. His earnings passed through a web of entities organized under the laws of Ireland, Hungary, Cyprus, Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey. The money was ultimately deposited into various foreign accounts that Picardi controlled through a New Zealand trust, in the name of a corporation set up for him in Nevis, a Caribbean island. Through these offshore transactions, Picardi attempted to hide his income and evade over $1 million in taxes.
“The unanimous Appellate Court decision to uphold Mr. Picardi’s tax fraud convictions is highly gratifying, as it demonstrates that using complicated schemes to defraud the government will not only be discovered and prosecuted, but convictions will stand,” said Karyn Fonseca, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation office responsible for investigating Edward Picardi. Fonseca added, “I would like to recognize and applaud the tireless efforts of both the Assistant United States Attorney and the IRS Special Agent who worked diligently to ensure that Mr. Picardi was brought to justice and his convictions validated.”
The case was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Koliner and Department of Justice Tax Division Trial Attorney Joseph Giannullo prosecuted the case.
Picardi remains in federal custody and will continue to serve his sentence.