Tuesday, September 22, 2020

83 Yr Old 'Panama Papers' Tax Dodger Sentenced To 4 Years in Prison

We previously posted On February 19, 2020, Former U.S. Taxpayer Pleads Guilty in Panama Papers Investigation, where we discussed that a former U.S. resident and taxpayer who was charged along with three others in connection with a decades-long criminal scheme perpetrated by Mossack Fonseca & Co. (Mossack Fonseca), a Panamanian-based global law firm, and its related entities, pleaded guilty on February 18, 2020 to wire and tax fraud, money laundering, false statements and other charges. 

Harald Joachim von der Goltz, aka “H.J von der Goltz,” “Johan von der Goltz,” “Jochen von der Goltz,” “Tica,” and “Tika,” 82, a citizen of Germany and Guatemala who last resided in Needham, Massachusetts, and Key Biscayne, Florida, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit tax evasion, one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy, four counts of willful failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Reports 114) and two counts of false statements. 

A Manhattan federal judge on September 21, 2020 sentenced Harald Joachim von der Goltz to Four (4) Years In Prison for his long-standing efforts to evade U.S. taxes, which were exposed by the "Panama Papers" document leak from the Mossack Fonseca law firm.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman also fined him $30,000 and ordered him to pay $3.4 million in restitution to the U.S. after the 83-year-old admitted in February to nine criminal counts, including tax evasion from 2000 to 2016, fraud and making false statements.

"These are very serious offenses," said Judge Berman, noting that von der Goltz began breaking the law in his 60s. "The crimes occurred here over a very long period of time. We can't lose sight of that."

"I am Here Before you Humbled and Disgraced with a
Broken Heart," said von der Goltz.

He also faces a potentially significant IRS penalty of about $2.5 million. "The simple truth is I broke the law."

But prosecutor Nathan Rehn said von der Goltz should not derive any "advantage" at sentencing for an "egregious" crime as a result of his advanced age, because he turned up his nose at an IRS amnesty offer and kept lying before he was arrested in the U.K. and extradited to the U.S. in 2018.

Judge Berman's sentence came in below official guidelines that called for one in the range of nine years. Prosecutors had said a sentence of that length wasn't necessary, but asked for a significant period of incarceration.

Toward the end of the 2½-hour sentencing, which was conducted via videoconference, Judge Berman said the sentence came in "remarkably below" guidelines, but a home confinement sentence was not possible.

Having Then Been Given An Opportunity To Say A Final Word, Von Der Goltz Called The Prison Term "Devastating.
I Do Think I'll Die In Jail," He Said.

"At least I was able to have 83 years of the things that I did in life that I'm proud of. I'm sorry it ended up this way. But it is what it is."

Unless the defense prevails on a request to delay his surrender, von der Goltz will report to custody in 60 days, Judge Berman said.

In a statement, acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said von der Goltz was "abetted by the specialized criminal services of the law firm Mossack Fonseca" to rip off the IRS.

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