California Doctor Pleads Guilty to Failing to Report Foreign Account at Bank Leumi in Luxembourg
Laguna Beach Resident is the Latest in a Series of Defendants Charged with Concealing Bank Accounts at Israeli Banks
Dr. Baruch Fogel of Laguna Beach, California, pleaded guilty today in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to willfully failing to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) for tax year 2009, announced the Justice Department’s Tax Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
According to court documents, Fogel, a U.S. citizen, maintained an undeclared bank account held in the name of a foreign corporation at the Luxembourg branch of Bank Leumi. The undeclared foreign bank account and foreign corporation were set up with the assistance of David Kalai, a tax return preparer who owned United Revenue Service (URS). In December 2014, David Kalai and his son, Nadav Kalai, were convicted in the Central District of California of conspiracy to defraud the United States for helping certain URS clients set up foreign corporations and undeclared bank accounts to evade U.S. income taxes and for willfully failing to file FBARS for an undeclared foreign account that they controlled.
According to court documents and evidence introduced at the trial of David and Nadav Kalai, Fogel was a doctor who operated several managed health care businesses. David Kalai suggested to Fogel that he could reduce his taxes by transferring money to a foreign bank account held in the name of a foreign corporation. David Kalai advised Fogel to open up the bank account that was set up in the name of a British Virgin Islands corporation. At a meeting facilitated and attended by David Kalai at the Beverly Hills branch of Bank Leumi, Fogel executed documents to open his Luxembourg bank account at Bank Leumi. According to court documents, Fogel diverted at least $8 million to his undeclared bank account at Bank Leumi’s branch in Luxembourg.
U.S. citizens and residents who have an interest in, or signature or other authority over, a financial account in a foreign country with assets in excess of $10,000 are required to disclose the existence of such account on Schedule B, Part III, of their individual income tax returns. Additionally, U.S. citizens and residents must file a FBAR with the U.S. Treasury disclosing any financial account in a foreign country with assets in excess of $10,000 in which they have a financial interest, or over which they have signature or other authority.
Fogel has agreed to pay a civil penalty in the amount of approximately $4.2 million to resolve his civil liability with the IRS for failing to file FBARs. Fogel faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss to any person, whichever is greater.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division Caroline D. Ciraolo and Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of the Central District of California thanked special agents of IRS-CI, who investigated the case, Tax Division Trial Attorneys Christopher S. Strauss and Ellen M. Quattrucci who prosecuted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown of the Central District of California, who assisted with the prosecution.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.