Florida Businessman and CFO of Russian Natural Gas Company Arrested on Tax Charges Related to $93 Million Hidden in Offshore Accounts
Allegedly Submitted False Offshore Compliance Filing with the IRS to Hide Fraud
A federal grand jury in Fort Myers, Florida, returned an indictment on Sept. 22 charging a Florida businessman with defrauding the United States by not disclosing his substantial offshore assets, failing to report substantial income on his tax returns, failing to pay millions of dollars of taxes and submitting a false offshore compliance filing with the IRS in an attempt to avoid substantial penalties and criminal prosecution.
According to the indictment, from 2005 to 2016, Mark Anthony Gyetvay allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud the United States by concealing his ownership and control over substantial offshore assets and by failing to file and pay taxes on millions of dollars of income. After working as a certified public accountant (CPA) in the United States and Russia, Gyetvay allegedly became the chief financial officer of a large Russian gas company. As part of his compensation package, Gyetvay allegedly received lucrative stock options and/or stock-based compensation. Beginning in 2005, Gyetvay allegedly opened the first of two different Swiss bank accounts to hold these assets, which at one point had an aggregate value of over $93 million. Over a period of several years, Gyetvay allegedly took steps to conceal his ownership and control over the foreign accounts and associated assets, such as removing himself and making his then-wife, a Russian citizen, the beneficial owner of the accounts. Despite being a CPA, Gyetvay also allegedly did not timely file his U.S. tax returns, nor did he file all of the required Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) forms certain U.S. taxpayers are required to file annually that disclose their control over assets maintained in foreign bank accounts. Further, some of the tax returns he did file are allegedly false. The indictment also alleges that Gyetvay submitted a false offshore compliance filing with the IRS through the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures in which he attested that his prior failure to file FBARs and tax returns was non-willful.
Gyetvay is scheduled for his initial court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Frazier of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, five years in prison for each failure to file FBAR count, five years in prison for tax evasion, five years in prison for making a false statement, three years in prison for each count of assisting in the preparation of a false tax return and one year in prison for each willful failure to file a tax return count. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge John L. Badalamenti, who will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
IRS Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.
Senior Litigation Counsel Stanley Okula and Trial Attorneys David Zisserson and Kevin Schneider of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.