According to several local media reports, a Westchester County, New York judge has resigned after recently pleading guilty to charges of tax evasion. Although some may believe that the IRS and Department of Justice only go after the wealthy, this is a shining example that the government will prosecute anyone, even its own public servants, for violating tax laws. If you are in tax trouble, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney as soon as possible to get right with the government.
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According to court documentation, Marc Seedorf, a resident of South Salem, New York, served as the Lewisboro Town Court Justice since 1997. Prior to his judgeship, he worked for the District Attorney’s office, followed by a stint in private practice. Federal prosecutors alleged that Seedorf amassed a large IRS tax debt and from 2009 to 2019, devised and implemented a scheme to try to avoid paying the IRS.
IRS investigators and the Department of Justice asserted that Seedorf failed to file individual tax returns from 2005 to 2015. At its peak, Seedorf’s tax debt was nearly $487,000. In the 11-year period beginning in 2009, Seedorf continued to fail to file individual income tax returns, ignored IRS requests for records pertaining to the years in which he did not file a return, and took steps to conceal his income.
Some of Seedorf’s concealment activities include the failure to file several years of tax returns for his solo firm, formed in 2012. In 2012, Seedorf received proceeds from a lawsuit in which he was a party. He asked his lawyer to deposit the lawsuit settlement funds into his client trust fund account, instead of his personal bank account. According to the IRS, this was yet another attempt to conceal his income. The income was transferred into the firm’s bank accounts and to a family member. Seedorf used the funds to pay personal expenses, including paying down the mortgage on a home that was nearing foreclosure.
Sentencing has been scheduled for later this year. Seedorf faces up to five years in prison for the single count of tax evasion. As a part of his plea, Seedorf agreed to pay $207,219 in restitution to the IRS and prosecutors will recommend an 18-month prison sentence. Seedorf is also likely to be sentenced to a term of supervised release upon the completion of his physical incarceration.
The defendant in the case above knew that he had a federal tax liability and took several steps to conceal the sources of his income. Further, he ignored IRS requests for documentation and otherwise thwarted their efforts to collect his tax debt. Although he likely felt similar to many taxpayers who are overwhelmed with tax debt, the IRS and DOJ response is a clear indication that his actions did not constitute the best strategy.
When you are over your head in tax debt, your first call should be to an experienced tax attorney. Together with your tax defense lawyer, you can develop a strategy that makes sense for your particular set of facts and goals. Ignoring IRS correspondence does not constitute a winning strategy but controlling what the taxpayer says and gives to them is. Your experienced tax attorney will ensure that you are responsive, but do not share information that can be twisted to be used against you in future proceedings.
Note: As long as a taxpayer that has willfully committed tax crimes (potentially including non-filed returns coupled with affirmative evasion of payment) 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!
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The tax and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have extensive experience representing a diverse group of taxpayers. From individuals to middle-market businesses and beyond, our team of zealous advocates will assist in the development of a strategy to help you reach your specific goals and objectives. Whether you are under a tax examination or are in need of tax planning advice, contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today, online or by phone at (800) 681-1295, for a reduced-rate consultation.
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