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The sitting District Attorney for the City of New Orleans is in court, but this time he will not be prosecuting. Jason Williams faces 10 counts of federal tax violations, including fraud and conspiracy. The indictment claims that Williams’ multi-year scheme improperly saved him more than $200,000 in unassessed taxes.
According to representatives, Williams relied on the advice of a bad actor claiming to be a certified tax professional, but this has not stopped the federal government from pursuing a criminal tax conviction. If the IRS will come after the district attorney of a large city like New Orleans, there is no reason why they wouldn’t come after you or anyone else.
If you need tax help, the time to act is now. Schedule your initial case assessment for a reduced rate when you contact the Criminal Tax Defense Attorneys at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing at (800) 681-1295.
Trial proceedings began on July 18th in the case of Jason Williams, the District Attorney for the Orleans Parish District. The trial follows nearly two years of pre-trial hearings after Williams and co-defendant Nicole Burdett were charged in an 11-count indictment, while Williams was serving as president of the New Orleans City Council. The trial proceeds on 10 of the original counts after one was dropped prior to trial.
The charges against Williams and Burdett include tax fraud, conspiracy, and failure to file forms for cash receipts of more than $10,500. According to prosecutors, Williams and Burdett, an attorney who worked at Williams’ private law firm, conspired to inflate Williams’ business expenses by more than $700,000 over five consecutive tax years, the last being in 2017. This resulted in an estimated $200,000 in illicit tax relief for Williams, according to prosecutors.
Burdett also faces a separate indictment over her own personal tax returns, which she allegedly falsified across four consecutive years during the same time period in question. The indictment claims that Burdett claimed over $280,000 in fraudulent business expenses.
Williams was allegedly assisted by tax preparer Henry Timothy. According to the defense, Timothy falsely represented that he was a certified public accountant (CPA) and acted without Williams’ or Burdett’s consent to inflate expenses, not just for them but for his other clients as well. Timothy has already pled guilty for lying on his own tax returns and is expected to be called to testify in Williams’ trial.
Also expected to cooperate with Williams’ trial is Bridget Barthelemy, Williams’ ex-wife who herself was recently charged with failing to file a federal tax return. Many believe that Barthelemy, the daughter of former New Orleans Mayor Sidney Barthelemy, has already likely agreed to a plea deal.
During the same period that Barthelemy was charged, Robert Hjortsberg, a former attorney with Williams’ firm, pled guilty to a misdemeanor federal tax charge that stemmed from the same investigation which resulted in the indictment against Williams and Burdett. Hjortsberg agreed to pay restitution and faces sentencing of up to a year in prison.
In the two years since the indictment was handed down, Williams has consistently stated that the government’s efforts against him are vindictive based on his “progressive reformer” platforms that run counter to the office’s history of staunch hard-liners. The indictment came after Williams announced his intentions to run for District Attorney, but the prosecution indicated that the investigation which produced the indictment began long before Williams announced.
Williams’ attorneys have indicated that they will not pursue this line as a defense in court. Instead, they will most likely claim that they relied on the advice of Timothy in preparing their taxes.
This argument could prove to be an effective defense against criminal tax evasion, which does require the prosecution to prove willfulness. However, even if Williams was truly unaware of Timothy’s illegal conduct on his behalf, he will still face substantial monetary penalties and restitution for civil violations.
If found guilty of the charges as listed, U.S. sentencing guidelines suggest that Williams and Burdett would each face 27 months in prison, not to mention fines and restitution. However, District Court Judge Lance Africk may choose to impose a more severe sentence, as a charge of federal tax evasion comes with a maximum potential prison sentence of five years.
If convicted, Williams would also be forced to vacate his current post as District Attorney, which he has managed to keep throughout the highly publicized legal battle.
Cases against notable public figures always make the news, but the IRS takes similar actions against ordinary, everyday taxpayers every day. What makes this case particularly significant, however, is the specific identity of the defendant.
The significance of the IRS, under a Democratic administration, pursuing a conviction against a progressive political figure in a blue city, who just so happens to be a highly accomplished legal professional, should not be overlooked. The willingness of the federal government to take on cases such as these shows their increased appetite for action, including audits, investigations, and convictions.
In other words, if the IRS is going to come after Jason Williams, there is little to stop them from coming after you. If you have concerns about your past or upcoming tax filing compliance status, the time to address these issues is right now. If there is an opportunity to fix any mistakes that you could have made which could invite invasive government action, you will need to act quickly, but you should never attempt these complex endeavors without the help of a seasoned Criminal Tax Defense Attorney.
To learn more about your situation and how our Criminal Tax Defense Attorneys may be able to help, call the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing at (800) 681-1295 or click here to schedule a reduced-rate case evaluation.
If you are dealing with serious tax matters, you deserve tax assistance that you can rely on. Schedule your first reduced-rate case evaluation with our Criminal Tax Defense Lawyers by calling (800) 681-1295 today or schedule online here.
If you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years or have taken a position on a tax return that could not be supported upon an IRS or state tax authority audit, eggshell audit, reverse eggshell audit, or criminal tax investigation, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney to determine your best route back into federal or state tax compliance without facing criminal prosecution.
As long as a taxpayer that has willfully committed tax crimes (potentially including non-filed foreign information returns coupled with affirmative evasion of U.S. income tax on offshore income) self-reports the tax fraud (including a pattern of non-filed returns) through a domestic or offshore voluntary disclosure before the IRS has started an audit or criminal tax investigation / prosecution, the taxpayer can ordinarily be successfully brought back into tax compliance and receive a nearly guaranteed pass on criminal tax prosecution and simultaneously often receive a break on the civil penalties that would otherwise apply.
It is imperative that you hire an experienced and reputable criminal tax defense attorney to take you through the voluntary disclosure process. Only an Attorney has the Attorney Client Privilege and Work Product Privileges that will prevent the very professional that you hire from being potentially being forced to become a witness against you, especially where they prepared the returns that need to be amended, in a subsequent criminal tax audit, investigation or prosecution.
Moreover, only an Attorney can enter you into a voluntary disclosure without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (a crime in itself). Only an Attorney trained in Criminal Tax Defense fully understands the risks and rewards involved in voluntary disclosures and how to protect you if you do not qualify for a voluntary disclosure.
As uniquely qualified and extensively experienced Criminal Tax Defense Tax Attorneys, Kovel CPAs and EAs, our firm provides a one stop shop to efficiently achieve the optimal and predictable results that simultaneously protect your liberty and your net worth. See our Testimonials to see what our clients have to say about us!