A billionaire is trying to get the court to accept a $1.45 billion from his family trust. The payment would be in exchange for the IRS relaxing liens on his family and assets.
U.S. vs. Robert Brockman
Robert Brockman is the defendant in the country’s largest tax evasion matter against a single individual. According to a filing by his lawyers, Brockman is offering to move offshore charitable trusts in Switzerland to U.S. accounts.
In exchange, Brockman’s defense team has asked the IRS to lift its jeopardy assessment. The agency imposes such an assessment on taxpayers with the means and funds for fleeing the country to avoid tax debts. The assessment led to the seizure of funds in the names of Brockman and his spouse.
Brockman faces an accusation of evading tax debt of $2 billion and money laundering. The defendant has pled not guilty while also claiming incompetency due to dementia.
Arguments on the prosecution side insist Brockman is overstating the severity of his condition. The court has yet to rule on the matter.
The IRS pulls no punches
The IRS placed liens on various properties owned by the Brockmans. The agency also halted retirement payments from the auto dealership software company Reynolds & Reynolds, which Brockman built. Brockman’s defense team argues their client needs his retirement payments and that the IRS is unfairly preventing Mrs. Brockman from selling property the couple no longer uses.
The defense attorneys believe the government is pushing a Catch-22. They attest the U.S. cannot have it both ways and “simultaneously contend that [Brockman] owns a multi-billion dollar asset that is located in the United States, and at the same time prevail in its contention that its ability to collect is in jeopardy.”
IRS says it has its man
The prosecution insists all charges lead back to Brockman, as he controlled the family’s billion-dollar trust. The defense claims their client did not manage the trust. A court in Bermuda, where the trust is based, verified the defense’s argument.
While definitely an extreme matter, the case demonstrates the complexity involved in tax-crime accusations and how they can impact one’s lifestyle and assets. However, the government does have to prove there was a willing act that promoted criminality in an effort to avoid paying government debt.