POLITICO Quotes Scott Michel on Manafort Criminal Tax Charges
POLITICO has reviewed the argument that prosecutors in the Office of Special Counsel might use the tax evasion case against Paul Manafort to pressure him into cooperating with their broader investigation. Their reporter spoke to Scott Michel about the degree to which criminal tax charges in any matter may provide a basis for federal prosecutors to leverage tax charges in pursuit of a plea deal in the larger case.
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Federal sentencing guidelines recommend somewhat less severe penalties for tax crimes than for more serious schemes like bank fraud or conspiracy to commit fraud against third parties. That can prompt prosecutors to offer a plea deal on tax offenses, along with cooperation, to lessen a defendant's sentence, said Scott Michel, a member of Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered who counsels companies and individual taxpayers on criminal tax matters.
"You end up getting a relatively lenient deal if you're willing to cooperate and provide information about the activity of other parties," Michel said. "The point is that tax charges are kind of a good vehicle to do that."
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"There are records of everything," he said.
Agents in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division are highly trained in tracing financial transactions and reviewing records to determine tax return accuracy, so prosecutors routinely lean on them early in investigating a complex array of financial issues, Michel said.
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Excerpt taken from the article “Tax Charges 'the Ultimate Leverage' in Cases Like Manafort's” by Aaron Lorenzo for POLITICO.