Call Now (800) 681-1295

South Florida Woman Indicted for Failing to Report Swiss Bank Accounts

Table of Contents

    According to a Department of Justice press release, a recently-naturalized U.S. citizen faces a slew of charges related to failure to disclose foreign bank accounts under the Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) regime after immigrating to the U.S. from Chile. This story should serve as a reminder to taxpayers with interests in foreign bank account(s) that federal law requires you to report the interest in such accounts if certain balance thresholds are met. If you have a foreign bank account that you have not previously disclosed to the U.S. government or you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney as soon as possible to determine the best course of action to bring you into federal tax and FBAR compliance.

    Defendant Recently Immigrated to the U.S., Is Accused of Lying to IRS and Immigration Officials

    Court documents reveal that Lucia Andrea Gatta, a former south Florida resident, immigrated to the United States from Chile and became a U.S. citizen in 2012. Prosecutors allege that between 2012 and 2014, Gatta controlled bank accounts in a Swiss bank that should have been annually reported to the Department of the Treasury as part of the FBAR regime. Federal authorities allege that Gatta not only failed to report such accounts, but also failed to file a federal tax return between 2011 and 2014. Finally, prosecutors allege that Gatta lied to immigration officials in obtaining her citizenship by not disclosing her failure to properly file a tax return or report the existence of her control over Swiss bank accounts.

    It is important to note that an indictment is not an indication of guilt. If convicted at trial, Gatta faces up to five years in prison for each year that she willfully failed to disclose her bank accounts under the FBAR regime. Additionally, she faces up to one year in prison for each year that she failed to file a tax return. Lastly and potentially most devastatingly, Gatta faces up to ten years in federal prison and automatic denaturalization if convicted of naturalization fraud 

    Coming into FBAR Compliance

    FBAR enforcement has skyrocketed in the past decade. Over that time, the Department of the Treasury has worked tirelessly alongside the State Department to uncover and expose those Americans with unreported bank accounts in foreign countries. Under the FBAR regime, Americans must disclose the existence of an interest or signature authority over foreign bank accounts if the balance of such accounts crosses the $10,000 threshold. Willful violation of the FBAR regime can lead to up to five years in federal prison for each year of noncompliance. Additionally, the monetary penalty for such willful failure to comply with the FBAR regime is one half of the high balance of the unreported bank account for each year of noncompliance.

    If you have failed to report your foriegn bank account as required under the FBAR regime, there is good news. With the assistance of an experienced international tax lawyer, you can determine the best strategy to come into compliance while minimizing the chances that you will face criminal prosecution or excessive monetary penalties. Although some of the more generous voluntary disclosure programs have ended, there are still plenty of techniques and strategies to bring you into FBAR compliance.

    Note: 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 disclosurebefore 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, KovelCPAs 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!

    BBB Rating

    We Are Here for You

    Regardless of your business or estate needs, the professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing are here for you. We are open for business and our team will help ensure that your business is too. Contact the Law Offices of David W. Klasing today to discuss your business with one of our professionals.

    In addition to our main office in Irvine, the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing has unstaffed (conference room only) satellite offices in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Panorama City, Oxnard, San Diego, Bakersfield, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Carlsbad and Sacramento. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff are working from home, but have full virtual meeting capability.

    Our office technology allows clients to meet virtually via GoToMeeting. With end-to-end encryption, strong passwords, and top-rated reliability, no one is messing with your meeting. To schedule a reduced rate initial consultation via GoToMeeting follow this link. Call our office and request a GoToMeeting if you are an existing client.

    Questions and Answers about Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI)

    Questions and Answers about FBAR Compliance and Disclosure

    Questions and Answers About Foreign Tax Audits

    Tax Help Videos

    Representing Clients from U.S. and International Locations Regarding Federal and California Tax Issues

    tax lawyers

    Main Office

    Orange County
    2601 Main St. Penthouse Suite
    Irvine, CA 92614
    (949) 681-3502

    Our headquarters is located in Irvine, CA. Our beautiful 19,700 office space is staffed full-time and always available for our clients to meet with our highly qualified and experienced staff of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents. We also offer virtual consultations and can travel to meet with clients in one of our satellite offices.

    Outside of our 4 hour initial consultation option, we do not charge travel time or travel expenses when traveling to one of our Satellite offices, or surrounding business districts, where it is necessary to meet personally with taxing authority personnel, make court appearances, or any in person meeting deemed necessary for the effective representation of a client. To make this as flexible, efficient, and convenient as possible, David W. Klasing is an Instrument Rated Private Pilot and Utilizes the Firms Cirrus SR22 to service client’s in California and in the Southwest by air. Offices outside these areas are serviced via commercial jet airlines. None of these costs are charged to our clients.

    Satellite Offices

    (310) 492-5583
    (760) 338-7035
    (916) 290-6625
    (415) 287-6568
    (909) 991-7557
    (619) 780-2538
    (661) 432-1480
    (818) 935-6098
    (805) 200-4053
    (510) 764-1020
    (408) 643-0573
    (760) 338-7035
    (602) 975-0296
    New Mexico
    (505) 206-5308
    New York
    (332) 224-8515
    (512) 828-6646
    Washington, DC
    (202) 918-9329
    (702) 997-6465
    (786) 999-8406
    (385) 501-5934