According to the DoJ a former Credit Suisse AG banker, who has been a fugitive since 2011, pleaded guilty on June 22, 2016 in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia to charges related to aiding and assisting U.S. taxpayers in evading their income taxes, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
- assuring them that Swiss bank secrecy laws would prevent Credit Suisse from disclosing their undeclared accounts to U.S. law enforcement;
- discussing business with clients only when they traveled to Zurich to meet him;
- structuring withdrawals from their undeclared accounts by sending multiple checks, each in amounts below $10,000, to clients in the United States;
- facilitating the withdrawal of large sums of cash by U.S. customers from their Credit Suisse accounts at Credit Suisse offices in the Bahamas, in Switzerland, particularly the Credit Suisse branch at the Zurich airport and at a financial institution in the United Kingdom;
- holding clients’ mail from delivery to the United States;
- issuing withdrawal checks from Credit Suisse’s correspondent bank in the United States; and
- taking actions to remove evidence of a U.S. client’s control over an account because the U.S. client intended to file a false and fraudulent income tax return.
Moreover, Bergantino understood that a number of his U.S. clients concealed their ownership and control of foreign financial accounts by holding those accounts in the names of nominee tax haven entities, or structures, which were frequently created in the form of foreign partnerships, trusts, corporations or foundations.
Bergantino also admitted traveling to the United States approximately one to two times a year to meet with clients, taking careful steps to conceal the purpose of his visits from U.S. law enforcement.
He used private couriers to send clients’ account statements to the U.S. hotels where he stayed, so that he would not be caught traveling with clients’ statements in his possession.
In addition, Bergantino obtained “travel” account statements for each client he intended to visit which were devoid of Credit Suisse’s logo and account or customer identification information and used business cards that Credit Suisse provided that contained only his name and office number and did not carry the Credit Suisse name or logo.
On entering the United States, Bergantino provided misleading information regarding the nature and purpose of his visit to U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities.
Two of Bergantino’s co-defendants, Andreas Bachmann and Josef Dörig, pleaded guilty to the superseding indictment in 2014 and were sentenced on March 27, 2015. Credit Suisse pleaded guilty in May 2014 for conspiring to aid and assist taxpayers in filing false returns and was sentenced in November 2014 to pay $2.6 billion in fines and restitution.
Bergantino faces a statutory maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. He also faces monetary penalties and restitution.
“Mr. Bergantino voluntarily surrendered to the authorities,” said his attorney, Thomas Zehnle. “He accepts full responsibility for his past actions. He’s confident that the U.S. justice system will treat him fairly, and he’ll accept the court’s sentence, whatever it is.”
For more on where will the IRS and the DoJ will turn next as they sift through a treasure trove of data gathered from Swiss banks and from more than 50,000 U.S. taxpayers who disclosed their accounts to avoid prosecution, see our posts:
- UBS Singapore Forced To Turn Over Records of US Taxpayer - What Are You Waiting For To Get Right With The IRS?
- The Swiss Bank Program is Over So What Countries are in the DoJ Sites Now?
- Hiding Money Offshore Resides on the Dirty Dozen List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season
- LB&I Agents Lose Autonomy To Centralized Office That Will Be Using Data to Identify Compliance Risks For Audit!
- OVDP Program Open Indefinitely For Taxpayers Hiding Money or Income Offshore!
Read more at: Tax Times blog