Bloomberg News

Lawyer Little Charged With 11-Year Swiss Tax-Fraud Scheme

May 11, 2012

The U.S. charged Michael Little, an attorney, with participating in an 11-year conspiracy that defrauded the Internal Revenue Service using Swiss bank accounts and sham mortgage transactions.

Little and unidentified co-conspirators, including five members of an U.S.-based family, first met at a New York hotel in August 2001, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a criminal complaint filed today.

During the meeting, Little advised family members, identified in court papers as the “S Family,” on how they could bring back to the U.S., without paying taxes, $10 million in overseas accounts that belonged to the family’s recently deceased patriarch.

Little assisted family members with opening an account at UBS AG in Switzerland and conducting sham mortgage transactions designed to get the money into the U.S. without alerting the IRS, the government alleged in the filing in federal court in Manhattan.

From 2001 and 2008 Little met with the matriarch of the family to discuss the transfer of funds and “caused millions of dollars” to be sent from offshore to the U.S. account of an entity she controlled, according to the complaint. The matriarch “made personal and other use of the money,” prosecutors said.

Other unidentified people involved in the scheme include a New Jersey accountant, a lawyer in Switzerland and the eldest member of the S Family, described as a New York businessman who also inherited funds in offshore accounts.

One of the relatives has pleaded guilty to federal charges and is cooperating with the government’s investigation, prosecutors said. Two of that person’s siblings have also provided information to the U.S., prosecutors say.

The case is U.S. v. Little, 12-MAG-1241, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in New York at pathurtado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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