Billionaire Charged in $2B Tax Evasion Case

'We will not hesitate to prosecute the smartest guys in the room'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 16, 2020 3:32 AM CDT
Texas Billionaire Charged in $2B Tax Fraud Scheme
In this May 19, 2019, file photo, billionaire Robert F. Smith announces he will provide grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 graduating class at Morehouse College in Atlanta.   (Steve Schaefer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

Federal prosecutors charged Texas billionaire Robert Brockman on Thursday with a $2 billion tax fraud scheme in what they say is the largest such case against an American. Department of Justice officials said at a news conference that Brockman, 79, hid capital gains income over 20 years through a web of offshore entities in Bermuda and Nevis and secret bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland. Prosecutors announced that Robert F. Smith, the CEO of a private equity firm that aided in the schemes, will cooperate with the investigation, the AP reports. Brockman appeared in federal court from Houston via Zoom on Thursday. He entered a plea of not guilty to all counts and was released on $1 million bond.

The 39-count indictment unsealed Thursday charges Brockman, the chief executive officer of Ohio-based software company Reynolds and Reynolds Co., with tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering, and other offenses. Prosecutors said Smith, founder and chairman of Vista Equity Partners, will cooperate in the investigation and pay $139 million to settle his own tax investigation. "Complexity will not hide crime from law enforcement. Sophistication is not a defense to federal criminal charges," said David L. Anderson, US attorney for the Northern District of California. "We will not hesitate to prosecute the smartest guys in the room."

(More tax fraud stories.)

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