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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 21, 2014

New York City Lawyer Sentenced for Corruptly Obstructing the I. R. S.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - Stanley L. Cohen, an attorney with offices on Avenue D, New York City and Jeffersonville, New York, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment today by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Norman A. Mordue in United States District Court in Syracuse, according to United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian. His sentencing followed his earlier guilty pleas to corruptly obstructing and impeding the Internal Revenue Service and failure to file tax returns. The court imposed a12 month term of incarceration for his failure to file federal tax returns, as well, directing that sentence to run concurrently with the 18 month term on his felony plea to corruptly obstructing and impeding the Internal Revenue Service. The court also directed Cohen to serve a one year term of supervised release following completion of his sentence of imprisonment. Cohen was also ordered to pay all federal and state taxes due and owing from the years 2005 through 2010. Cohen was ordered to report to the U.S. Marshal’s Service on January 6, 2015 to begin serving his sentence.

As part of a plea agreement, Cohen previously entered a guilty plea in the Northern District of New York to corruptly obstructing and impeding the Internal Revenue Service. He also pled guilty in the Southern District of New York to charges of failure to file federal tax returns for tax years 2006 and 2007. He has agreed to waive any appeal and collateral attack of his conviction.

This case followed a lengthy investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. It was ascertained that Cohen failed to file federal and state tax returns for the years 2005-2010. He would only file an extension to file his return and make a modest payment toward taxes owed during those years, but never followed through with a final tax return. In court, at the time of his guilty plea, the government revealed that its evidence would show that in the tax year 2004, the last year defendant file a tax return, he had claimed gross receipts of $289,000 when in fact investigators ascertained that he had deposits in excess of $426,000 for that year. In the course of the investigation judicially authorized search warrants were executed at Cohen’s law office on Avenue D in New York City and his home law office at a home he had in Jeffersonville, New York. Investigators found that essentially he kept no financial records regarding receipts of fees from clients. Investigators also found that he failed from 2005 to 2010 to file either a 1099 or W2 for a law office assistant who was paid for performing services for him during those years.

Additionally a search warrant was executed on a safe deposit box that Cohen maintained in a bank in Jeffersonville, New York. A search of that safe deposit box revealed that he had $50,000 in cash within the box. An additional $15,000 in U.S. currency and $1,800 in Canadian currency was recovered from a wall safe in his home. Official bank records revealed that Cohen accessed his safety deposit box 77 times from 2006 through 2008 and had made deposits of cash totaling approximately $504,000 at that bank from 2004 to 2008. Additional investigation revealed that approximately $183,500 of that amount was deposited by Cohen on days when he visited the safety deposit box shortly before or after making the deposit. Bank records also demonstrated that on many occasions, Cohen made multi thousand dollar cash deposits at the small bank in Jeffersonville and exchanged small bills for $100 bills.

Additional evidence developed during the investigation revealed that Cohen made deposits of cash to various financial accounts as follows:

In 2004 he made in excess of $194,000 in cash deposits, in 2005 more than $237,000, in 2006 more than $321,000, in 2007 more than $395,000, in 2008 more than $405,000, in 2009, after the execution of the referenced search warrants, he deposited more than $54,000 and in 2010 more than $147,000 in cash. Many of these deposits were made in amounts under $10,000, thus avoiding the filing of currency transaction reports required under the law.

Investigators also found that Cohen would cause wire transfers of cash to be made from clients, many of whom were on the Akwesasne Reservation to his accounts. These wire transfers made from a Speedway Convenience Store on the reservation through the Money Gram service totaled more than $643,000 between October 2004 and December of 2008.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Syracuse Criminal Investigation Section, Drug Enforcement Administration and the New York State Police. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen Green and John Duncan.

For further information please contact Assistant U.S. Attorney John Duncan at 315-448-0672.

Updated February 10, 2015