Former UBS Client Sentenced for Hiding $10 Million in Offshore Bank Accounts
Jack Barouh of Golden Beach, Fla., was sentenced today to 10 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan in Miami, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. He was ordered to surrender to the custody of U.S. Marshals by June 25, 2010. Barouh pleaded guilty in February 2010 to filing a false tax return.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Barouh admitted to filing a false tax return for 2007 in which he failed to report that he had an interest in or a signature authority over financial accounts at UBS AG, one of Switzerland’s largest bank. He also failed to report income earned on his UBS Swiss bank accounts. The UBS accounts were opened in the names of Domilou S.A., a nominee Panamanian corporation, and Similen Investments Limited, a nominee British Virgin Island corporation. For years 2002 through 2007, the tax loss associated with the Domilou and Similen accounts at UBS is approximately $736,269.
In addition to the Domilou and Similen accounts, the defendant owned and controlled several additional offshore bank accounts located at banks other than UBS, including accounts in Switzerland and Hong Kong.
According to court documents, the defendant owned and operated several businesses that manufactured and sold watches. Beginning in 1976, the defendant skimmed income from his watch businesses and deposited the proceeds into his undeclared UBS bank accounts. The defendant also deposited unreported sales commissions into the accounts.
According to court documents, beginning in 2007, Barouh attempted to withdraw his funds from Switzerland and repatriate all of the money into the United States. However, a Swiss attorney persuaded the defendant to transfer the money from Switzerland to a newly created bank account in Hong Kong in the name of a nominee Hong Kong corporation. The Swiss attorney then told the defendant to pay himself an annual "consulting fee" until all of the funds were brought into the United States. The Swiss attorney knew the defendant was not going to perform any consulting work.
As part of his plea agreement, Barouh agreed to pay a 50 percent penalty for the one year with the highest balance in his offshore accounts in order to resolve his civil liability for failing to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, Forms TD F 90-22.1. The highest balance of all of the assets the defendant owned and controlled offshore was approximately $10,017,613. The defendant also must pay any additional taxes, interest and penalties he may owe.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John DiCicco and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the IRS agents involved in this case, as well as Senior Litigation Counsel Kevin M. Downing and Trial Attorney Mark F. Daly of the Tax Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Neiman, who prosecuted the case.
In February 2009, UBS entered into a deferred prosecution agreement under which the bank admitted to helping U.S. taxpayers hide accounts from the IRS. As part of their agreement, UBS provided the United States government with the identities of, and account information for, certain United States customers of UBS’s cross-border business.
United States citizens 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 return. Additionally, United States citizens much file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (F-Bar) with the U.S. Treasury, disclosing any financial account in a foreign country with assets in excess of $10,000 for which they have a financial interest in or signature authority, or other authority over.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at www.usdoj.gov/tax/.