(STL.News) – A Beverly Hills, California, businessman was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in prison for filing false tax returns, which failed to report his offshore accounts in Germany and Israel and the income earned on those accounts, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna for the Central District of California.
“Today’s prison sentence reinforces the message that the Tax Division alongside its strong partners in U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the IRS is committed to prosecuting U.S. taxpayers, who willfully hide offshore accounts, and that the penalty for such criminal conduct is not just a financial penalty, but prison,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman.
According to court documents, Teymour Khoubian filed false tax returns for tax years 2009 and 2010, which failed to report foreign financial accounts in Germany and Israel and failed to report income earned on those accounts. Between 2005 and 2012, Khoubian jointly owned multiple accounts at Bank Leumi in Israel with his mother that held between $15 million and $20 million. Additionally, since at least 2005, Khoubian also owned a foreign account at Commerzbank AG in Germany. Despite his ownership interest in these accounts and a legal requirement to declare all offshore accounts containing $10,000 or more, Khoubian prepared false tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2011 that did not fully disclose his foreign accounts, nor report all the interest income earned on those accounts. Khoubian’s Bank Leumi accounts generated interest income in excess of $4 million between 2005 and 2010, none of which was reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The total tax loss associated with the Bank Leumi accounts is approximately $1.2 million.
Since at least 2009, Khoubian was aware of the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The OVDP allowed U.S. taxpayers to voluntarily disclose unreported foreign accounts and pay a reduced penalty to resolve their civil liability for not declaring foreign accounts to U.S. authorities. During 2011 and 2012, Bank Leumi requested that Khoubian sign a Form W-9 for U.S. tax reporting purposes. In an August 13, 2012, recorded telephone conversation with a banker at Bank Leumi, Khoubian stated that the reason he did not want to sign a Form W-9, was “because you have to pay half of it.”
In 2012 and 2014, Khoubian knowingly made multiple false statements to IRS special agents investigating his foreign accounts, including falsely stating that the Bank Leumi accounts were not in his name, that he did not own a bank account in Germany from 2005 to 2010, that he closed his German bank account and moved all of that money to the United States, and that none of the money in his German bank account was moved to Israel.
As part of his sentence, Khoubian was ordered to pay $612,310 in restitution to the IRS. Additionally, as part of his guilty plea, Khoubian paid a Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) penalty in the amount of $7,686,004 plus interest and penalties.