When we turn on the news and hear of people being arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences, we usually presume that they have committed some sort of disturbing or violent crime against others. And though that is often the case, there are also those who are ordered by a judge to don a colored jumpsuit and be confined in a federal prison even though there are no human victims of their crime. Sadly, a few of these prison inmates may have not even been at fault and simply were taken advantage of. Could a bad tax attorney put you at the center of an IRS criminal investigation?
Most everyone seeks an attorney because they are skilled in their work and are knowledgeable in the areas of law that they practice. We rely on attorneys and other skilled professionals to help us do what is best for us. Unfortunately for Jerold Sorensen of Fresno, California, he allegedly didn’t receive a fair shake from his tax attorney. In fact, according to his defense lawyer, the advice he received landed him in prison.
According to a press release by the Department of Justice, 75 year-old Sorensen practiced dentistry in California. He was accused and convicted of working with an organization known as Financial Fortress Associates and tax attorney Eva Melissa Sugar in Colorado. FFA and Sugar allegedly advised Sorensen in setting up several trust accounts that he then funneled his dentistry earnings through and avoided a substantial tax liability.
According to court documents, between 2000 and 2008, Sorensen funneled money through pure trust organizations (PTO’s) and used the trust funds to purchase cars, real estate, an office building and equipment used in his practice. He was also accused of substantially underreporting his taxable income between 2002 and 2007.
In an interview with Bloomberg BNA after Sorensen was sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison, his defense lawyer, Michael Minns suggested that his client was a victim. “He was scammed, and I think it was unfortunate he was convicted.” He suggested that between Sorensen’s tax attorney and the FFA organization, he was led to believe that his actions were legal. Sorensen’s tax attorney pled guilty to conspiracy charges on August 5th and will be sentenced in the end of October.
Unfortunately, this incident is not an isolated one. This case goes to show every person that may ever need tax advice that all tax attorneys are not created equal. Regardless of the type of tax issue that you need assistance with, the quality, integrity and experience of the attorney is what really matters. Mr. Sorensen may very well not have known that his actions were illegal but because he allegedly received poor legal advice, a federal prison will be his home for the next year and a half. Don’t let this happen to you.
Whether you are a business owner needing basic tax advice or bookkeeping services or a taxpayer who is seeking assistance and may be in trouble with the IRS, know that the tax professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing are dedicated to being ethical and professional as well as highly effective. We will work diligently to ensure that we can secure you the best possible outcome for your situation or structure your tax transaction in a way that is most favorable to you, but will also do so within the parameters of the law. Call our Los Angeles tax lawyers today at (800) 681-1295 for a reduced-rate consultation and rest easy knowing that as our client, you are our top priority.