Portola Valley resident sentenced for tax-evasion | March 5, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



News - March 5, 2014

Portola Valley resident sentenced for tax-evasion

Portola Valley resident Christopher B. Berg was sentenced Feb. 27 to a year and a day in state prison after pleading guilty in January 2013 to "willfully failing to file the required report of foreign bank account," according to federal attorneys.

He also must serve three years of "supervised release," said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag for the Northern District of California in a press release.

Before he was sentenced, he paid restitution to the Internal Revenue Service of more than $250,000 plus a penalty of $287,896, she said.

Mr. Berg, working as a consultant in 2000, set up a secret account 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 of $642,070 in earned income at UBS and used that money in Europe, including for traveling expenses and the purchase of a vehicle, prosecutors said.

Mr. Berg did not inform his accountant about the UBS account nor did he disclose the deposits and income earned on those deposits, the federal attorneys 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.

"The tax harm associated with (Mr.) Berg's conduct exceeded $250,000," prosecutors said.

Investigators from the IRS uncovered the details of the case, and the prosecutors were trial attorneys from the Justice Department Tax Division.