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May 31, 2009

Former BDO Seidman partners charged with tax fraud conspiracy

Two former BDO Seidman partners, including a former chief executive, have been charged with tax fraud conspiracy and related crimes arising out of tax shelters.

Denis Field, a former chief executive chairman of the board of the US firm, is also former head of the firm’s national tax practice, and one of three heads of the firm’s tax solutions group, which handled all aspects of the tax shelter practice.

Robert Greisman was a tax partner in BDO Seidman’s Chicago office and a member of the tax solutions group.

The two were named, along with three former shareholders of a law firm and two former bankers, in an indictment filed in Manhattan Federal Court that alleged they designed, marketed and implemented fraudulent tax shelters used by wealthy individuals with multimillion-dollar taxable income in order to eliminate or reduce the taxes they would have to pay the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It was alleged that Field and Greisman developed and utilised tax shelters for themselves in order to evade personal tax liabilities on the substantial income they were receiving from their design, marketing and implementation of fraudulent tax shelters.

The conspiracy and tax evasion charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years’ supervised release, restitution and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to the IRS.

“We are dedicated to holding accountable tax and financial professionals whose deceit and fraud cost this country millions in tax revenues,” said Lev Dassin, the acting US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“The allegations contained in the indictment reflect a brazen disregard for the law.”

Internal Revenue Service commissioner Doug Shulman added: “Taxpayers deserve our vigilance in the investigation and prosecution of allegations of fraud by unscrupulous tax and financial professionals who assist others in hiding income and evading the payment of their fair share of taxes.”

Three other former BDO Seidman partners have pleaded guilty to related charges this year.

Former vice-chairman and board member Charles Bee pleaded guilty on 3 June to charges of conspiracy to defraud the IRS, tax evasion and perjury.

Adrian Dicker, another former vice-chairman pleaded guilty on 17 March to conspiracy and tax evasion charges.

Principal Michael Kerekes pleaded guilty on 13 February to conspiracy and tax evasion charges.

Southern District of New York assistant US attorney Stanley Okula and Department of Justice Tax Division assistant section chief Nanette Davis are in charge of the prosecution.

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