DOJ Tax issued this press release: Florida Man Sentenced for Evading Taxes on Millions in Secret Offshore Bank Accounts (2/14/21), here. Key excerpts are:
A resident of Palm Beach County, Florida, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for not reporting his foreign financial accounts from 2006 through 2015 and for willfully evading the assessment of millions in taxes from 2007 through 2014.
According to court documents, from 2003 through 2009, Dusko Bruer owned and operated a company that bought U.S.-made agricultural machinery and parts and sold them throughout the world. Bruer’s company had numerous employees and reaped millions of dollars in annual gross receipts. Despite its success, Bruer’s company did not file employment or corporate tax returns, nor did the company pay employment or income taxes. Furthermore, from 2003 forward, the company never paid Bruer a salary. Instead, Bruer directed that millions of dollars from the company’s bank accounts be used to pay his personal expenses, to make foreign investments, and to transfer funds to his family members.
To conceal his income from the IRS, from 2006 through at least 2015, Bruer owned and controlled bank accounts held at financial institutions in Croatia, Germany, Serbia, and Switzerland, which he did not report, in violation of the law. Between 2007 to 2011 alone, Bruer transferred $5.8 million from domestic accounts to these foreign financial accounts. In total, between 2007 and 2014, Bruer did not report receiving $7,726,213 in income, nor did he pay $2,789,538 in taxes. Bruer used his unreported offshore accounts to fund his lifestyle, including the purchase of foreign property, a $1,350,000 yacht, and a 3,200 square foot home in Lake Worth, Florida, with 100 feet of frontage on the Intracoastal Waterway for $1,650,000.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra ordered Bruer to serve two years of supervised release and to pay approximately $2,789,538 in restitution to the United States.
I wrote on Bruer’s plea previously. Offshore Account Related Plea After Quiet Disclosure (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 4/4/2020), here.
The parties’ sentencing memoranda are interesting, with for the Government’s nice pictures of the toys.
The CourtListener Docket Entries are here.
1. Bruer’s Sentencing Memo requests (pp. 2-3) no incarceration based on exceptional circumstances that, he claims, warrants a Booker variance from the “presumptively not reasonable advisory sentencing guideline range. United States v. Agbai, 497 F.3d 1226 (11th Cir. 2007) (‘[T]rial courts are not permitted to presume that a guideline sentence is reasonable.’).” (See also pp. 3, 8, 11 & 18, repeating the presumptively not reasonable phrase in mantra-like fashion without further explanation.) I have not researched 11th Circuit law but I think Bruer’s sentencing memo misreads the quote as I read it. It is quite a different thing to not presume that a guidelines advisory range is reasonable to then presume that a guidelines range is not reasonable. But, as I said, I have not researched 11th spins on the notion and have limited myself to Bruer’s quote offered to justify the notion as he presents it.
2. The Government’s Sentencing Memo (p. 18) recommends a sentence in the guidelines range it calculates at 46-57 months.
3. The actual sentence more or less splits the baby on the bidding offered by the parties.
4. Bruer’s Sentencing Memo offers (p. 16) my first conscious encounter (that I now recall) with the word “recidivate.” I intuited its meaning and checked it in an online dictionary, Merriam Webster’s, here where the proffered definition is: “to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior and especially delinquency or criminal activity: to exhibit recidivism.” I intuited right although recidivator can be deployed in settings other than criminal conduct. The same site says that recidivate was first used in English in 1528. That was before Shakespeare, so he did not invent the word (if he ever spoke or wrote it). I suppose also that one who recidivates is a recidivator. My google search found this at the top of the list on the About page for a blog called “Recidivism Sucks,” here. So, in some broader sense of the use of the word, I suppose that I and others fall into the serial recidivator category. (On the Shakespeare angle, there are claims that offering prison inmates opportunities to perform Shakespeare and view Shakespeare helps significantly to lower recidivism (i.e., make them less likely to recidivate. See Elyssa Mersdorf, Transforming Trauma: Performing the Works of William Shakespeare as Rehabilitation for Incarcerated Individuals (VCU Scholars Compass 2020), here.)