October’s Amusing Tax Convictions

Over the years, this column has seen loads of tax evasion from nearly every industry and walk of life, but one of the few career paths that has only rarely shown up is medical doctors.  Well, today, that ends.  Krishnaswami Sriram attempted to evade payment of approximately $1.6 million in taxes, penalties and interest he owed to the IRS. Among other evasive acts, Sriram allegedly caused his children to be the nominal owners of two rental properties he owned and operated, while still continuing to receive income from those properties.  It’s expected that Sririam’s trial, near Chicago, could result in a multiple-year sentence as well as restitution and a punitive fines. 

It’s long been assumed that the defense contracting world might have a few seedy characters, and that theory has been confirmed with the guilty plea from Zachary A. Friedman, of New York.  From 2013 to 2015 Friedman evaded taxes he owed to the IRS by providing false information to his tax preparer that underreported the income he earned for each of those years.  This is the fourth guilty plea from one particular company, and what makes this especially worrisome is Friedman didn’t hide millions of dollars, but rather, less than half a million over the three year period.  This places him into a solidly middle-class tax bracket, and with thousands of new IRS agents expected to be hired in the coming years, this case could be a harbinger of things to come from the IRS.

Several months ago, this column ran a brief regarding a Florida man indicted for attempting to “sell” tax deductions via syndication of conservation easements.  From approximately 2015 through 2019, Randall Lenz, of Boca Raton, Florida, a licensed CPA and attorney,  marketed illegal tax shelters developed and promoted by other individuals. In return, Lenz received a commission of 12% of the money his clients paid for their tax shelters. In all, Lenz received more than $700,000 in commissions.  With his guilty plea, it’s expected he’ll face up to three years in prison, multiple fines, and restitution. 


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