Houston News : Houston billionaire charged with biggest tax evasion case in U.S. history, feds say

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The feds didn’t mince words when they leveled charges against Houston billionaire Robert Brockman, who is accused of taking $2 billion through an elaborate scheme. Prosecutors call it the biggest case of tax evasion of its kind in American history against a single individual, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

“Complexity will not hide crime from law enforcement,” U.S. Attorney Dave Anderson said at a Thursday press conference announcing the charges. “We will not hesitate to prosecute the smartest guys in the room.”

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Brockman, the CEO of a software company was charged in a 39-count indictment Thursday that includes charges of money laundering, conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion, according to the U.S. Justice Department.  The extensive 42-page indictment unsealed Thursday morning states that Brockman created companies on the British Virgin Islands and allegedly used them to hide assets from the IRS.

In the indictment, prosecutors allege that Brockman’s scheme was decades long, covering a 20-year period. The charges also include allegations that between 2008 and 2010, Brockman reportedly bilked investors out of nearly $68 million. The feds’ case against Brockman was further supported by another billionaire Robert F. Smith.  According to prosecutors, Smith assisted Brockman in hiding his profits earned through Smith’s company Vista Equity Partners via offshore accounts.

“No scheme is too complex or sophisticated for our investigators,” Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation Jim Lee said. “Those hiding income or assets offshore are encouraged to come forward and voluntarily disclose their holdings.

According to the allegations in the indictment, Brockman’s scheme was comprised of a tangled web of offshore entities. Brockman allegedly directed untaxed capital gains income to secret bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said that he created code words on encrypted emails in an attempt to hide his assets overseas.  According to the indictment, Brockman’s code word was “Permit,” and the IRS was called “the house.” He assigned others certain names with fish-themed code names, including “Redfish,” “King,” “Bonefish,” “Snapper, or “Steelhead.”

Brockman currently lives in Houston and Pitkin County, Colorado, and his estimated net worth is $1 billion, according to the U.S. Justice Department.   Federal prosecutors argued that Brockman’s access to a private jet in Houston currently makes him a flight risk.  On Thursday morning, Brockman pleaded not guilty on all counts and was released on $1 million bond.

“We look forward to defending him against these charges,” Kathryn Keneally, Brockman’s lawyer said in a statement to Wall Street Journal’s Dave Michaels and Miriam Gottfried.



in Houston

Source : chron.com