BELLEVUE LAWYER SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR TAX EVASION, MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS AND OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE IN TAX AUDIT
Lawyer Lied to IRS Agent About Bank Account and Unreported Income
FELIX LANDAU, 62, of Redmond, Washington, a lawyer previously practicing in Bellevue, Washington was sentenced today to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and $61,232 in restitution for two counts of tax evasion, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice. LANDAU was convicted in March 2009, following a seven-day bench trial in front of U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman. At sentencing today, Judge Pechman said LANDAU’s tax evasion had “torn the fabric of the public trust. When you cheat on your taxes, you basically cheat everyone.”
LANDAU, a sole practitioner, significantly underreported his gross receipts on his income taxes in 2000, 2001, and 2002. When the IRS started investigating in 2003, LANDAU lied to an IRS agent and failed to disclose a bank account into which he had deposited more than $90,000 in income. According to testimony at trial, in 2000, LANDAU underreported his income by about $87,000 thus avoiding an additional $18,000 in taxes. The next year, 2001, he underreported his income by about $85,000 avoiding an additional $20,000 in income taxes. In 2002, LANDAU underreported his income by $92,000, thus avoiding an additional $22,000 in taxes. In January 2003, an IRS agent asked LANDAU to provide a variety of records related to his billing and bank records. LANDAU failed to report one bank account into which he had deposited gross receipts from his law practice. Further, LANDAU claimed that deposits into two of his accounts were funds from his new fiancée, when in fact, the deposits were fees from various clients.
Prosecutors argued that LANDAU began hiding his income in 1999 when he began an affair with a woman working across the hall from his office. LANDAU hid this income from his wife’s divorce attorney, as well as from the IRS. At the same time, he spent lavishly on his girlfriend, taking trips to Paris, Venice, Alaska and the Mediterranean, purchasing a house with the fiancée, and buying expensive golf clubs.
In asking for a prison sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Mary Dimke told the court “deceit and manipulation are a way of life for Felix Landau.” She noted that he waited until just four days before the sentencing hearing to finally file the amended tax returns, disclosing the income he had tried to hide for so many years.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary K. Dimke, and Andrew C. Friedman.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.