Crime Watch: August 30, 2013

Northern California Residents Indicted for Filing False Liens against IRS Employees and Tax Fraud
 
The Justice Department announced August 20 the unsealing of a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Sacramento, California, charging Teresa Marie Marty, Charles Tingler, and Victoria Tingler, all of Placerville, California, with conspiracy to defraud the United States and filing multimillion-dollar liens against government officials.
 
Marty is charged with filing liens against the property of three IRS employees involved in the collection of taxes she owed the IRS. She also filed liens of at least $84 million against the property of two Justice Department attorneys involved in a lawsuit filed against her in 2009 to enjoin her and her business, Advanced Financial Services (AFS), from preparing tax returns.
 
According to the superseding indictment, the Tinglers were clients of Marty and AFS, who filed a false tax return in 2008 fraudulently claiming a refund of $358,415. The indictment charges the Tinglers, as well as Marty, with filing this tax return. When the IRS tried to collect the fraudulently obtained refund, both Charles and Victoria Tingler filed multiple liens against the IRS revenue officer who was handling their collection case.
 
According to the charging documents, the liens disclosed the Social Security numbers of the respective government employees. Marty and the Tinglers are also charged with multiple counts of unlawfully using the Social Security numbers of the government employees in the liens they filed with the California Secretary of State.
 
Finally, the indictment charges Marty, Charles Tingler, and AFS office manager Pamela Harris with participating in a conspiracy to defraud the IRS. The indictment alleges that as part of the conspiracy, Harris and Marty engaged a commercial collection agency to collect one of the three false liens that Charles Tingler had filed, one of which was in the amount of $500,000.
 
Marty, Harris, and Marty's daughter, Rebecca Bandera-Marty, had previously been indicted in June 2013 for a large-scale tax-fraud scheme. Those charges are included in this superseding indictment. According to the superseding indictment, in 2008 and 2009 Marty, Bandera-Marty, and Harris conspired to file at least 250 false individual federal income tax returns on behalf of individuals who resided in twenty-six states, and which claimed more than $60 million in false federal income tax refunds.
 
If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge as well as each charge of filing a false claim and unlawfully disclosing a Social Security number. Each retaliatory lien count carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
 
Source: US Department of Justice
 
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California Businessman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Conceal Israeli Bank Accounts
 
Aaron Cohen of Encino, California, pleaded guilty August 29, 2013, in the US District Court for the Central District of California to conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and IRS-CI announced. 
 
According to court documents, Cohen, a US citizen, maintained undeclared bank accounts at two international banks headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, identified in court documents as Bank A and Bank B. One of Cohen's undeclared accounts was maintained at a branch of Bank A located in the Cayman Islands.
 

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The accounts were held in the names of nominees in order to keep them secret from the US government. In or about 2000, Cohen began using the funds in his undeclared account in the Cayman Islands as collateral for back-to-back loans obtained from another branch of Bank A located in Los Angeles. Cohen's ownership of the funds in the Cayman Islands accounts was not identified in the loan records maintained at the Los Angeles branch, thus concealing the fact that he was borrowing his own money, paying tax-deductible interest on the loans, and not reporting the interest income he was earning in the Cayman Islands on his US tax returns.
 
According to the plea agreement, in or about 2009, Cohen transferred approximately $2 million from his Cayman Islands account at Bank A to a new offshore account at Bank B in Israel. Cohen then used the funds in the new account as collateral to obtain a back-to-back loan from the Los Angeles branch of Bank B. Cohen failed to report any income from the accounts on his individual income tax returns that were filed with the IRS.
 
For tax years 2006 through 2009, Cohen failed to report interest income of approximately $238,000. The highest balance in the undeclared accounts was approximately $3,450,000.
 
Cohen is the latest in a series of defendants charged in the US District Court for the Central District of California with failing to report income from undeclared accounts in Israel.
 
On March 29, 2013, Zvi Sperling of Beverly Hills, California, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with back-to-back loans obtained in Los Angeles at branches of Bank A and Bank B that were secured by funds in undeclared bank accounts in Israel. For tax years 2005 through 2008, Sperling failed to report income of approximately $381,563. The highest balance in Sperling's undeclared accounts was approximately $4 million.
 
On May 21, 2013, Guity Kashfi of Los Angeles, California, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with back-to-back loans obtained from branches of Bank A and Bank B in Los Angeles that were secured by funds in undeclared bank accounts in Israel and Luxembourg. For tax years 2005 through 2011, Kashfi failed to report interest income of approximately $221,306. The highest balance in Kashfi's undeclared accounts was approximately $2.5 million.
 
Cohen faces a potential maximum prison term of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000. In addition, Cohen has agreed to pay a civil penalty to the IRS in the amount of 50 percent of the high balance of his undeclared accounts for failing to file FBARs. 
 
Source: US Department of Justice
 
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