Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Abusive Tax Schemes (aka Illegal Tax Shelters)

Abusive Tax Schemes – https://www.irs.gov/compliance/criminal-investigation/abusive-tax-schemes-criminal-investigation-ci

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are the most common types of abusive tax schemes?
  • How do people hide money overseas?
  • How does a false billing scheme work?


This is where a writer should go for stories that involve illegal tax shelters and creative (and illegal) uses of offshore accounts. Here’s an example of what the IRS considers to be an abusive tax scheme:

Diamond Merchant Sentenced for Conspiring to Hide $7.1 Million in Swiss Bank Accounts

On November 9, 2011, in Manhattan, N.Y., Richard Werdiger, a former client of Swiss bank UBS AG, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, one year of supervised release, fined $50,000 and ordered to pay a $600 special assessment. Werdiger pleaded guilty in March 2011 to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by hiding more than $7.1 million at UBS, filing false federal income tax returns, and evading nearly $400,000 of taxes. Werdiger agreed to pay a civil penalty of more than $3.8 million for his failure to report his overseas accounts. Restitution will be determined at a later date. According to court documents and statements made in court, from 1986 to 1988, Werdiger opened multiple accounts at UBS under the name of sham Liechtenstein-based foundations in order to evade taxes on money that he had inherited from his father. To further conceal his ownership of these accounts, Werdiger instructed UBS to permit him to communicate with the bank using the code name “Trygon.” In late 2000, Werdiger opened up yet another account at UBS in the name of a sham Panamanian corporation. This allowed him to continue to invest in U.S. securities without having UBS notify the IRS of his identity or withhold taxes on income arising out of his holding U.S. securities. During the conspiracy, Werdiger used the funds hidden offshore to satisfy various business obligations, such as paying off business debts incurred by his companies, Michael Werdiger Inc. and Eloquence Corporation, which sell diamonds and other jewelry.


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