New York Tax Return Preparer Pleads Guilty to Preparing False Tax Returns

A Staten Island, New York, tax return preparer and business owner pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York to preparing false federal income tax returns, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to court documents and statements, Alabi Gbangbala, 51, was the operator of Broadfield, a tax return preparation business located in Staten Island.  For tax years 2008 and 2009, Gbangbala prepared false individual income tax returns for Broadfield clients by, among other things, falsifying self-employment business receipts and losses on Schedules C and inflating or fabricating charitable contributions and unreimbursed employee expenses on Schedule A.  Gbangbala was responsible for filing false tax returns on behalf of his clients that resulted in at least a $178,000 tax loss to the U.S. Treasury. Gbangbala also filed false personal individual income tax returns for tax years 2008 through 2010, in which he failed to report his total income for each calendar year.

Gbangbala faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for one count of aiding and assisting the preparation of a false return at his Sept. 24 sentencing.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended the special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Christopher O’Donnell and Mark McDonald of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.  Ciraolo also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York for their assistance.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

Phillip Zane’s Game Theory: Ten Years On

Ten years ago this spring, Zane published his definitive work on game theory which changed the way law-and-economics scholars and sophisticated prosecutors and defense counsel analyze whether, when, and how corporations and executive management teams should disclose white collar criminal conduct.

Phillip Zane be the only attorney whose colleagues and clients might expect to see an open book on games and strategy on his desk.

Ten years ago this spring, Zane published The Price Fixer’s Dilemma:  Applying Game Theory to the Decision of Whether to Plead Guilty to Antitrust Crimes, 48 Antitrust Bull. 1 (2003), which changed the way law-and-economics scholars and sophisticated prosecutors and defense counsel analyze whether, and when, to settle high-stakes antitrust cases.

Zane’s article strongly suggested that in a number of common situations, pleading guilty (or even seeking the protections of the corporate leniency program) is not always justified.  Zane’s article used a repeated, or iterative, version of the prisoner’s dilemma to demonstrate that pleading guilty was not always the best strategy for antitrust defendants facing criminal prosecution and civil liability in multiple proceedings or jurisdictions.

At the time, a few of the brainier Antitrust Division prosecutors breathed a sigh of relief when the defense bar did not seem to notice and they failed to incorporate Zane’s research into their negotiating strategies.

In 2007, Zane published “An Introduction to Game Theory for Antitrust Lawyers,” which he used in a unit of an antitrust class he taught at George Mason University School of Law. That paper was another milestone on the way to making game theory concepts accessible and useful to the antitrust defense bar.

Zane’s work, which now used game theory to criticize the settlement of the second Microsoft case and the Government’s approach to conscious parallelism, as well as the leniency program, was met with official grumblings within the Antitrust Division.

GeyerGorey LLP was founded on the principle that the chances for achieving the best possible outcome are maximized by having access to multiple, top-notch, cross-disciplinary legal minds that are synced together by an organizational and compensation structure that encourages sharing of ideas and information in client relationships.

As international enforcement agencies sprouted and developed criminal capabilities and as more hybrid matters included prosecutors from US enforcement agency components with sometimes overlapping jurisdictions, such as the Antitrust, Criminal, Civil and Tax Divisions of the Department of Justice, and the alphabet soup of regulatory agencies, particularly the Securities and Exchange Commission, it became apparent that Zane’s game-theoretic approach has application in almost every significant decision we could be called upon to make.  Since Zane has joined us we have been working to factor in the increased risks associated with what we call hybrid conduct (conduct that violates more than a single statute).  Our tools of analysis for identifying risks for violations of competition laws, anti-corruption laws, anti-money-laundering laws, and other prohibitions, include sophisticated game-theoretic techniques, as well as, of course, the noses of former seasoned prosecutors, taking into account, each particular client’s tolerance for risk.

To take one example, an internal investigation might show both possible price fixing and bribery of foreign government officials.  How, given the potential for multiple prosecutions, should decisions to defend or cooperate be assessed?  And how might such decisions trigger interest by the Tax Division, the SEC, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or other regulators.  When should a corporation launch an internal investigation?  When should it make a mandatory disclosure?  What should it disclose and to which agency, in what order?  When should it seek leniency and when should it instead stand silent?  These tools are valuable in the civil context as well:  When should it abandon a proposed merger or instead oppose an enforcement agency’s challenge to a proposed deal?

These are truly the most difficult questions a lawyer advising large corporations is required to address.  We are well positioned to help answer these questions.

Virginia Anesthesiologist Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Virginia Anesthesiologist Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns

Dr. George Anderson, 57, of Farmville, Va., was sentenced today to 33 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for criminal tax fraud, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, sitting in Richmond, Va., also ordered Anderson to pay $471,919 of restitution to the IRS.


Anderson had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of willfully filing false tax returns. According to the statement of facts filed with the court, Anderson was the sole owner of Farmville Anesthesia Associates Inc. Beginning in 2001, Anderson attempted to reduce his business’s tax liability to zero by diverting income to sham and nominee entities. Specifically, Anderson paid hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bogus expenses out of Farmville Anesthesia’s bank accounts to other accounts held in the names of nominee trusts and limited liability companies Anderson himself controlled.   He then falsely reported these payments on Farmville Anesthesia’s corporate income tax returns as legitimate business expenses. Later, Anderson spent substantial funds out of the nominee bank accounts for his personal benefit, including for the construction of his personal residence, and did not report the expenditures as income on his personal tax returns.


In his guilty plea, Anderson admitted that he filed a false 2007 corporate income tax return on behalf of Farmville Anesthesia Associates. That return was false because it reported the bogus expenses paid to Anderson-controlled sham entities. Anderson also admitted to filing a false 2005 personal income tax return. That return was false because it did not report the income Anderson spent for his benefit out of the bank accounts held in the names of the nominee trusts and LLCs.


This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jonathan Marx of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Maguire of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.