Criminal Justice

Former BigLaw tax attorney gets 12 months for failing to file his own return


A California tax attorney has been sentenced to 12 months in federal prison for not filing his own taxes, and must also pay over $650,000 in restitution, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

James Kleier, 58, was accused of failing to report any income for more than a decade while earning substantial six-figure sums at BigLaw firms during at least a number of those years. Kleier earned $624,923, $476,088 and $200,734 as a partner of Reed Smith in 2008, 2009 and 2010, reported a Department of Justice press release and the Recorder (sub. req.). In February, Kleier pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to file a tax return in the Northern District of California case, the Recorder article notes.

The DOJ says he “failed to report any income he earned” from 1999 through 2010 and the Recorder says Kleier admitted he hadn’t filed a federal tax return since 2000. Kleier was a partner from 1999 to 2005 at Preston Gates & Ellis (now part of K&L Gates), and in 2005 he joined Reed Smith’s regulatory litigation group, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

He has also been active in bar association activities and taught law school tax classes, a Bloomberg BNA profile says.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Reed Smith Lawyer Makes Calif. List of Delinquent Taxpayers”

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