Criminal Procedure

Swiss lawyer pleads guilty in tax probe; indictment details how he helped US clients hide money

Edgar Paltzer, a lawyer with U.S. and Swiss citizenship who is licensed to practice in New York, has pleaded guilty to helping American clients hide assets from the IRS.

Indicted in April with Swiss banker Stefan Buck, Paltzer testified today in federal court in New York, Bloomberg reported. Paltzer admitted to communicating in code with clients, including the use of postcards, when discussing checks sent from undisclosed accounts, Bloomberg reported.

The actions took place between 2000 and 2012.

“I intentionally formed foundations and corporations which permitted these U.S. taxpayers to hide from the IRS these accounts and the income earned in these accounts,” he said. “I assisted these taxpayers in violating their legal duties. I was aware that this conduct was wrong.”

Paltzer’s indictment (PDF) details his work helping a California woman hide $3.1 million in Switzerland, The money was later moved to a different bank and set up as an “off-the-shelf corporation” in the British Virgin Islands, according to the document.

According to a statement released by Thomas W. Ostrander, Paltzer’s lawyer, Paltzer pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a conspiracy with U.S. persons to commit various offenses under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Bloomberg reports that the crime carries a five-year sentence, but Paltzer would probably get less time for cooperating with the government.

Bloomberg reports that Paltzer has agreed to pay restitution and forfeit the money he earned from the crimes.

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