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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

Friday, May 30, 2014

Husband And Wife Plead Guilty To Tax Charges And Agree To Pay The IRS Over $800,000 In Taxes

DENVER – Sandra J. Zuckerman, age 66, of Woody Creek, Colorado, pled guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn to willful failure to pay income taxes, United States Attorney John Walsh and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Stephen Boyd announced.  Judge Blackburn is scheduled to sentence Sandra Zuckerman on September 16, 2014.  Sandra and her husband, Mathew Zuckerman, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 25, 2012.  Mathew Zuckerman pled guilty on February 18, 2014 and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Blackburn on July 31, 2014.

According to information contained in court documents, beginning in 1986 and continuing through 2009, the Zuckermans either failed to file an income tax return, or filed a return using incorrect amounts.  From 2003 through 2009 no income tax returns were filed with the IRS. 

Starting in 1998, Mathew Zuckerman and an associate became 50/50 business partners and began to specialize in taking small companies public through reverse mergers of existing corporate shells. To operate their new venture, himself and his business partner formed Silicon Valley New Issues, Inc. (SVNI). In addition, he formed Intermountain Marketing & Finance, Inc., a corporation he solely owned which owned 50% of SVNI.  As part of the scheme, Mathew Zuckerman evaded corporate income taxes on several million dollars of taxable income in 1999 from Silicon Valley New Issues, Inc.  Over the course of the next 10 years, he continued to conceal his assets and business affairs from the IRS by utilizing additional corporations and trusts in order to avoid payment and collection of the Zuckerman's outstanding tax liabilities.

Specifically, to avoid IRS liens, in 1999, the Zuckermans caused the deed to their Woody Creek residence, purchased for approximately $1.2 million, to be recorded in the name of Hyperpanel University, Inc. ("Hyperpanel"), a Nevada corporation that listed the names of a cat and a dog as its officers and directors on its filings with the Secretary of State.  Similarly, in 2004 Mathew Zuckerman formed a company called Treya, Inc. in Nevada that they used to purchase a $1.8 million home in 2004 in Toluca Lake, California. Based on the directions of Mathew, Sandra used her name from an earlier marriage, Sandra Eberli, to be used in connection with transactions conducted by Treya.

Furthermore, in December of 2004, Mathew Zuckerman created the Mathew Mark Zuckerman Trust ("MMZT") and placed himself in the position as "Trustor" and his CPA was appointed as trustee. In July of 2006, he caused his daughter to be appointed as the trustee and in 2008 caused 4,900,000 shares of Green Earth Technologies (a company for which he served as Chairman) to be issued to the trust using an incorrect employer identification number ("EIN") for MMZT.  Then he instructed his daughter to sell shares of the stock and transfer funds to his personal bank accounts. By doing this he received profits in excess of $500,000 while evading payments of taxes owed to the IRS. 

Mathew Zuckerman agrees to pay the IRS $693,706 in restitution and Sandra agrees to pay $112,511 in restitution to the IRS.

Mathew Zuckerman pled guilty to one count of tax evasion, which carries a penalty of not more than 5 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 per count.  Sandra Zuckerman pled guilty to three counts of willful failure to pay income taxes, which carries a penalty of not more than 1 year in federal prison, and a fine of up to $100,000, per count.

This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Special Enforcement Program of the Internal Revenue Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim R. Neff.

Updated June 22, 2015