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12 months house arrest for Oradell man who hid $1.3 million in Swiss bank accounts

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An Oradell man whose daughter got probation for a similar crime the day before was sentenced to one year’s house arrest by a federal judge after admitting that he concealed more than $1 million in Swiss bank accounts, as the government’s massive crackdown on offshore tax evasion continues.

As part of a deal with federal prosecutors, Harry Abrahamsen must repay more than $600,000 in back taxes, interest, and penalties, as well as a $300,000 fine that U.S. District Court Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh said was necessary so that people “know there is a consequence to this.”

To this point, more than three dozen people over the past year have either been sentenced or await sentencing for similar crimes.

Cavanaugh on Monday sentenced Abrahamsen’s daughter, Lucille Abrahamsen Jackson of Hillsdale, to probation for stashing $750,000 in a Swiss bank account and not reporting it on her taxes. As part of her plea agreement, Jackson agreed to pay a $379,688 federal penalty.

“I commend the government for going after these tax cheats,” Cavanaugh said during her sentence, adding that she has “paid a significant penalty already, both financially and personally.”

Breaking it down: The government has now charged UBS, the largest Swiss bank, at least two dozen former UBS clients, four former UBS bankers, and five bankers at Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), Switzerland’s second-largest bank, Bloomberg reports. Three former clients of HSBC Plc, Europe’s biggest bank, have been charged, as well.

Abrahamsen’s first account, originally opened in 1992, was transferred in 2000 into the name of Primrose Properties, S.A., a shell company based in Panama, federal authorities said. Abrahamsen, 69, established Primrose in 2000 with the assistance of a foreign lawyer and a Swiss banker, in order to hide the account from the IRS, they said.

A second account was opened in his daughter’s name.

Abrahamsen admitted that he funded the UBS accounts with approximately $1.3 million in false and inflated expenses paid by his pre-press printing business, SJT Imaging, Inc., to a Swiss company.

The inflated expenses were then deducted on SJT Imaging, Inc.’s corporate tax returns, which allowed Abrahamsen to under-report personal income for five years, beginning in 1999, court papers show.

In exchange for not being prosecuted, UBS agreed in February 2009 to give the United States government names of, and account information for, certain U.S. customers of UBS’ cross-border business who, the bank admitted, were hiding accounts from the IRS.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco of the Justice Department’s Tax Division commended special agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation unit for the case, which was prosected by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey A. Levine of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division and Trial Attorney Michael C. Vasiliadis of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.

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