South Carolina Doctor Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Return
Florence Emergency Room Physician Used Fraudulent Scheme to Eliminate Tax Liabilities
WASHINGTON - Peter Zavell, a medical doctor in Florence, S.C., pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return for the year 2000, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service(IRS) announced today. Zavell was scheduled to begin trial in Florence before Judge R. Bryan Harwell today.
Zavell was indicted in August 2007 for conspiracy to impede the IRS and for filing false returns for years 2000 and 2001. According to the indictment, Zavell used the "Look Back" and "Look Forward" programs, marketed by Anderson Ark and Associates (AAA) to create fictitious entities and business transactions intended to eliminate his tax obligations. The tax loss relative to the scheme was $244,784.
According to the indictment, Zavell used the AAA Look Back program to set up a sham partnership for the purpose of reporting false expenses and eliminating his individual tax liabilities. The indictment alleges that, through the AAA Look Forward program, Dr. Zavell created a sham partnership with which his medical practiced allegedly engaged in fictitious business contracts. The purpose and result of this fictitious business relationship was to generate false business expenses for his medical practice and substantially reduce the business tax obligations.
"Dr. Zavell joins more than a dozen other AAA customers who now wear the lifelong title ‘convicted felon’ for their participation in illegal tax fraud scams," said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "This is just one more example of the government’s commitment to investigate and prosecute those who fail to comply with their federal tax obligations."
"The IRS aggressively investigates those who use abusive financial arrangements to hide the true ownership of assets and income; it is a matter of maintaining public confidence in the fairness of the tax laws," said Eileen Mayer, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. "If individuals choose to participate in abusive tax schemes, they will be held accountable and criminally prosecuted."
As part of the plea agreement, the government agreed to dismiss charges against Zavell’s wife, Susan Zavell.
Judge Harwell did not set a sentencing date. Zavell faces up to three years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Assistant Attorney General Hochman commended the IRS special agents who investigated the case, as well as Tax Division trial attorneys Kevin C. Lombardi and Gregory R. Bockin, who prosecuted the case.