As a criminal defense and tax attorney, I often deal with the intersection of those two areas of practice when handling tax evasion and tax fraud cases. Even though the number of tax prosecutions by the federal government has increased in recent years, the total number of criminal tax prosecutions are relatively few. For example, in 2010, there were approximately 1,250 tax fraud charges brought by the Department of Justice.
With so few tax prosecutions each year, the types of criminal tax prosecutions usually focus on a few groups of people: celebrities or high profile people, tax protesters, and lately, those who have attempted to evade taxes by hiding assets outside the country. Of course, there are cases which don't fit into of the aforementioned categories, but two recent tax fraud cases show how tax authorities have targeted a few higher profile individuals. While the IRS and the Department of Justice are usually the lead agencies in the pursuit of tax fraud prosecutions, other agencies can also get involved.
Last week, actor Stephen Baldwin (who is looking very "Baldwin-esque" in the mugshot above) was arrested in New York for failure to file state income taxes for $350,000 in earnings from 2008-2010. Baldwin denies that he committed any crime, but acknowledges that his personal bankruptcy and other financial factors contributed to his inability to pay his taxes. Baldwin is scheduled to return to court on February 5, 2013.
Apparently, the U.S. is not the only government which pursues higher profile individuals, as Germany arrested Fabian Thylmann last week on suspicion of tax evasion. Although Thylmann may not be a household name to many, he is the owner of 2 of the world's top 110 websites, YouPorn and Pornhub. Thylmann was arrested in Belgium and will likely be extradited to Germany in the near future.