New York Woman Pleads Guilty To Filing A False Tax Return; Did Not Report Her Hsbc India Bank Account Held $8.3 Million
WASHINGTON - Josephine Bhasin, a resident of Huntington, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle in Central Islip, N.Y., to filing a false 2008 individual income tax return that did not report her ownership of a bank account in India at the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC India), Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco of the Justice Department’s Tax Division announced today.
According to the information, Bhasin filed a false individual income tax return for 2008 that failed to include a Schedule B reporting her interest in or signature authority over foreign financial accounts at HSBC India. In 2008, Bhasin’s bank accounts at HSBC India were valued at approximately $8.3 million. The 2008 income tax return was further false because it reported, on Line 8a, interest income of only $1,257.16, whereas during 2008 Bhasin actually earned approximately $169,000 of interest income on certificates of deposit maintained at HSBC India.
At the plea hearing, Bhasin admitted that after being contacted by attorneys for the Justice Department’s Tax Division on July 15, 2010, she filed a false Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) for 2009 and a false amended tax return for 2009 that reported ownership of a foreign bank account in India holding only $49,000. In addition, Bhasin also admitted that in September 2010 she filed similar false FBARs for 2007 and 2008.
At sentencing, Bhasin faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the amount of financial gain to the defendant or loss to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Additionally, Bhasin has agreed to pay a 50 percent civil penalty based on the year with the highest aggregate account balance between 2004 and 2009 for failing to file FBARs relating to her undeclared bank accounts.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General DiCicco commended the Special Agents of the IRS, under the direction of IRS-Criminal Investigation Chief Victor S.O. Song, who investigated the case.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel John E. Sullivan and Kevin M. Downing, as well as Trial Attorney Mark Kotila of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.