Almanac

News - February 6, 2013

Portola Valley man pleads guilty to tax evasion

by Dave Boyce

Portola Valley resident Christopher B. Berg has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he willfully failed to inform tax authorities about $642,069 he had deposited in a secret Swiss bank account in 2005, according to a Jan. 30 statement from the U.S. Department of Justice. Had details of the account been disclosed, Mr. Berg would have had a tax liability of $270,757, prosecutors said.

Mr. Berg could be fined up to $250,000 and sentenced to five years in prison, prosecutors said. A sentencing hearing is set for July 8 at the U.S. District Court in San Jose.

Mr. Berg set up the secret account in 2000 at the San Francisco offices of the Swiss bank UBS "to shelter a portion of his consulting income from taxation," prosecutors said. Between 2001 and 2005, he used wire transfers to make deposits at UBS, and used that money in Europe, including for traveling expenses and the purchase of a vehicle.

Mr. Berg did not inform his accountant about the UBS account nor did he disclose the deposits and income earned on those deposits, prosecutors said. The law requires U.S. citizens to disclose the existence of foreign accounts with assets valued at more than $10,000, and any interest in or authority over such accounts.

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