White-Collar Crime

Former BigLaw partner gets 15 years in $8B tax-shelter case

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A former tax practice chief who brought down his BigLaw firm by masterminding what prosecutors described as a fraudulent $8 billion tax-shelter scheme was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years by a federal judge in Manhattan.

Calling Paul Daugerdas “a tax-shelter racketeer who tapped into the incredible greed of some of the super wealthy,” U.S. District Judge William Pauley nonetheless gave him less than the 20 years sought by the government, Bloomberg reports.

The feds said the case is the biggest U.S. tax fraud ever prosecuted. Daugerdas, who formerly headed the Chicago office of Jenkens & Gilchrist, was convicted by a jury last year on 7 of 16 counts, including conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion.

Prosecutors Daugerdas orchestrated a scheme in which phony tax shelters, backed by costly legal opinion letters, were marketed to around 1,000 wealthy individuals between 1994 and 2004. The scheme allegedly involved $1 billion of fake losses, another $7 billion of fraudulent deductions and a $92 million loss to the U.S. treasury, Bloomberg reports.

Two other lawyers who worked with Daugerdas at Jenkens & Gilchrist took pleas. They are Donna Guerin and Erwin Mayer.

Daugerdas is currently listed as an attorney authorized to practice, with no disciplinary history, on the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission website.

The Associated Press also has a story about his sentencing.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Three Ex-Jenkens Partners Indicted for Work on Questionable Tax Shelters”

ABAJournal.com: “Judge OKs New Trial for Ex-Jenkens Tax Leader, Cites ‘Breathtaking’ Lies of Suspended Lawyer on Jury”

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