On February 4, 2011, Mauricio Cohen Assor and his son, Leon Cohen Levy were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment resulting from their participation in a sophisticated scheme to evade millions of dollars in income tax. At trial, the government presented evidence that Assor and Levy failed to report substantial amounts of income to the IRS and concealed their income and assets through a series of shell companies and offshore bank accounts located in Switzerland. Assor and Levy paid virtually all of their personal expenses through corporations they controlled including expenses related to the purchase of personal residences, luxury automobiles, a helicopter and a six person H2 Hummer customized golf cart. Assor and Levy also failed to report $33 million in income from the sale of a New York hotel, the proceeds of which were wired to HSBC Private Bank account maintained in Switzerland. In total Levy evaded over $12 million in tax and Cohen evaded over $10 million in tax.
At sentencing, Judge William Zloch rejected defense counsel’s request for leniency and sentenced each defendant to 10 years imprisonment.
This case represents a significant victory for the government in its crackdown against those who conceal income and assets in offshore accounts. The case also demonstrates that the government can obtain information from offshore banks to prosecute tax evasion cases (outside of the UBS disclosures).