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Florida jury rejects tax cheat claims against former banker

While much of Florida media has been understandably focused on Tuesday's election, some important news has flown under the radar. Among those items is a case that was heard about 200 miles south of Orlando.

In the case, a former banker was found not guilty in a federal court of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. The former Swiss banker was accused of helping American citizens unlawfully conceal $20 billion in foreign accounts.

After a three-week trial, the jury took a mere 75 minutes to return with a not guilty verdict that serves as a rebuke to prosecutors. The former banker's defense attorneys declined to call any witnesses during the trial, saying prosecutors had failed to prove their allegations against the 54-year-old defendant.

The case should hearten those who face threats, warnings and accusations by the IRS. Though the agency is indeed powerful and known for its detailed, often years-long preparation of cases, it is by no means invincible. White-collar defense firms can effectively counter IRS claims with detailed preparation of their own.

The fact that a jury took 75 minutes to return a verdict of not guilty gives some insight into government investigations and some of the mistakes that the government makes in complex fraud cases. A short jury deliberation and not guilty verdicts after a long and complex white-collar criminal trial is an indication that the federal investigators and prosecutors failed to conduct an impartial investigation, failed to properly consider the evidence, and failed to consider evidence favorable to the defendant. I have seen this many times over the years.

When serving as a federal prosecutor, I would consider all facts impartially and often had to direct agents on the case, to recognize facts inconsistent with their initial theories.

If you believe you could be subject to investigation or have been indicted in matters involving allegations of tax evasion, offshore accounts or other white-collar crimes, it is in your best interests to discuss your situation with an experienced white-collar criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later.

Please see our offshore accounts and assets page for more information.