We all want to find a way to keep our hard earned money, but that always seems to come at a price. For these ten individuals, trying to scheme their local tax system to keep their money came at a hefty price to say the least.
To pull off a massive tax fraud scheme, it takes being “in the know” and having influence over many, many people. In May of 2014, Credit Suisse did the unthinkable when it plead guilty to aiding thousands of clients in hiding income. The amount that the financial holding company helped hide was quite the sum, enough to warrant incurring $2.6 billion in penalties. It was reported that around 1,800 Credit Suisse employees helped upwards of 22,000 clients avoid the IRS.
It must sting quite a bit to have to fork over nearly $1.7 billion to the same tax system you spent years cheating. Paul Daugerdas was an attorney at Jenkens & Gilchrist that had been caught offering tax shelter advice. After the law firm collapsed, Daugerdas found himself slapped with criminal charges for his hand in dishing out the questionable advice. The trial lasted seven weeks and ended with Daugerdas’ conviction of conspiring to defraud the IRS and evade taxes. Along with his 15-year prison term, Daugerdas was hit with a $371 million restitution to the IRS. To pour salt on the wound, Daugerdas also had to forfeit $164 million in property and assets.
Ernst & Young
If there is anyone best suited to try and get away with tax evasion, it’s a company that offers tax advisory service. Ernst & Young is a London-based audit firm that was found to be in connection with four tax shelters between the periods of 1999 to 2004. Partners and employees of Ernst & Young had been providing 200-some clients with the “know how” to avoid paying what accumulated to $2 billion in taxes. Ernst & Young settled on a $123 million payment and a non-prosecution agreement against the firm itself. The involved employees were not protected by the non-prosecution agreement, leaving them open for criminal charges.
One has to wonder if Anderson’s support of space travel and resource gathering had anything to do with a need to escape very far away after the Justice Department filed what stands as the largest personal tax evasion case ever. The $200 million tax bill stemmed from dealings in telecommunications and hiding money in offshore accounts, an act that the Internal Revenue Service tends to frown upon. Though he struggled to free himself from the IRS’ grasp, Anderson eventually succumbed and was ordered to pay over $240 million and spent 5 of his 9 year sentence in federal prison.
That’s not a tax bill… This is a tax bill! Even Australia’s most rugged actor can come face to face with the tax man and lose. For almost a decade, the “Crocodile Dundee” star and the global face of Australia for much of the 80’s fought with the Australian Taxation Office over a bill of $150 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest. Hogan denied his owing of the taxes for the entire run but eventually settled with the ATO for an undisclosed amount. According to the actor, it was the tax bill that ruined his career. Not his poor choice in movies.
H. Ty Warner
They’re cute and cuddly and gave children across the globe something age appropriate to collect, but that doesn’t mean their creator is exempt from basic tax laws. Warner’s tax evasion was a bit more deliberate than just forgetting to file; he flew to Zurich, Switzerland to deposit $80 million at UBS AG. On the hidden money, Warner incurred over $24 million in interest income, over $53 million in penalties, and a $16 million tax bill of combined back taxes and interest. For a man worth around $2.5 billion, that must be chump change.
William H. Millard
According to Terry Giles, one of this evader’s attorneys, laws were changed to try and bring him down, but logic points to a far more simplistic answer – he just didn’t want to pay the near $59 million in taxes and penalties that he owed. Millard was known best as the CEO of ComputerLand, a California technology retail chain that he sold for $250 million. It was on the sale that Millard accrued his shamefully high tax bill, which actually started at a comparatively modest $17 million. Though Millard was living comfortably outside of the United States, his tax troubles soon caught up with him.
In 2010 Wesley Snipes went from wearing sunglasses and leather to donning prison attire when he was sentenced to three years behind bars for tax evasion. During a period from 1999 to 2006, Snipes had reportedly failed to file tax returns or pay any taxes on the near $38 million he had earned. Over the years, the actor had run up a tax bill of around $17 million. Though Snipes could have gotten away with a 12-month sentence since it was originally just a misdemeanor, Snipes charges were stacked, and to discourage others from following in his questionable morals, Snipes was made into an example in federal courts and was sentenced to a full 36-month term.
Having a kind face and being one of the world’s most notable singers doesn’t make you immune from the taxman. In 1990, Willie Nelson’s property was hit with a tax lien that summed up to $16.7 million. Nelson wasn’t too keen on the move, but surprisingly didn’t blame the government. Instead, good ‘ole Willie sued his accounting firm who, he claims, got his money caught up in an illegal tax shelter. Negotiations saw the bill being lowered to $6 million and, after all was said and done, though the IRS took much of what he owned, Nelson was left with his favorite guitar, Trigger.
It turns out there is more to Christopher Tucker than just his loud mouth. Like an alleged $14 million tax bill. Back in 2013, it was reported that the fast talking actor wasn’t able to escape the long arm of the Internal Revenue Service and was slapped with a $12 million bill, on which an additional $2.5 million lien was added. The ginormous amount stemmed from back taxes over a period of 7 years, though Tucker’s reps are quick to deny that it was ever that large.