White Collar Crime

Are More Law Firms in IRS Sights in Ongoing Tax Shelter Probe?

A former Arnold & Porter partner’s guilty plea yesterday in a criminal case over the opinion letters he wrote about Ernst & Young tax shelters concludes the matter as far as he and the firm—which paid an undisclosed fine to avoid prosecution—are concerned.

But there may well be more action in the ongoing IRS tax shelter investigation involving lawyers at different law firms, predicts the Am Law Daily.

“Lawyers at those firms—it’s unclear how many may be involved—are under investigation for doing the same thing that got [Peter] Cinquegrani into trouble: helping the richest of the rich illegally hide millions in taxable income in complex tax shelters,” the law blog writes.

Meanwhile, a trial is likely later this year in the case against former Sidley Austin partner R.J. Ruble. Fired by the firm in 2003, he “earned $50,000 a pop for writing about 600 letters that gave his blessing to the illegal tax shelters,” the blog recounts. Sidley avoided criminal charges by paying the IRS a $39.4 million fine.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Former Arnold & Porter Partner Pleads Guilty in Tax Shelter Case”

ABAJournal.com (2007): “Tax Shelter Probe Points to More Attys”

ABAJournal.com (2007): “Sidley Austin to Pay $39 Million”

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