Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged Houston software executive Robert Brockman with multiple counts of tax evasion, money laundering, and wire fraud for allegedly hiding $2 billion in income over 20 years. Officials say the case is the largest criminal tax evasion prosecution in U.S. history, The Wall Street Journal reports. Brockman, 79, is chief executive of automation software company Reynolds & Reynolds Co., but the charges stem from his investment in a private equity fund managed by Vista Equity Partners and its founder, billionaire Robert Smith.
Smith, 57, reached a plea deal with prosecutors, admitting to willfully evading $43 million in federal taxes, agreeing to pay $139 million in fines and back taxes, and cooperating with the investigation. In return, he won’t be prosecuted. Brockman is the sole investor in Vista’s first private equity fund. His investment helped Smith become the wealthiest Black man in the U.S. Smith announced last year that he would pay off all student loans for the 2019 graduates of Morehouse College.
The alleged tax evasion by Brockman and Smith was “brazen, intentional, and significant,” said Jim Lee, chief of criminal investigations for the Internal Revenue Service. “These allegations should disgust every American taxpayer as well, because the law applies to all of us when it comes to tax and paying our fair share.”
Brockman pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released on a $1 million bond. Reynolds & Reynolds noted in a statement that Brockman’s alleged crimes were comitted “outside of his professional responsibilities with Reynolds & Reynolds.”
Source:: The Week – Business