Last week I blogged about 7 UBS clients with Swiss bank accounts who were indicted by the Department of Justice for a variety of criminal tax offenses including failure to file Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBARs) and tax evasion. On the same day, Mauricio and Leon Cohen, father and son real estate developers were also arrested in New York. (Proving the old adage that the family that commits tax fraud together stays together) .The government alleged the two evaded taxes and failed to account for $45 million.
The difference is, these two were not clients of UBS, but instead had offshore financial accounts with HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, according to a source with knowledge of the case. This could signal the shift that many tax attorneys have suspected was coming. Up until now all the FBAR indictments had been of UBS clients, but there are U.S. citizens with unreported offshore accounts all over the world. I fully expect the IRS to go after other Swiss banks, and then expand to other countries. The IRS is currently sifting through all of the information they received as part of last year’s tax amnesty program for offshore account holders, looking for patterns that implicate other offshore banks and financial institutions. It’s only a matter of time before there are more tax evasion prosecutions of offshore bank account owners at a variety of financial institutions.