MANHATTAN (CN) – Former Sullivan & Cromwell partner John J. O’Brien was sentenced Wednesday to 28 months in federal prison for ducking taxes on more than $10 million in income.
O’Brien’s tax dodge cost the U.S. Treasury more than $2.5 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in announcing his sentence.
As a partner in an international law firm, “O’Brien certainly knew about his legal obligation to pay taxes,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement, or understatement.
O’Brien, 48, of Caroga Lake, N.Y., worked on corporate mergers and acquisitions at the Wall Street law firm from 2001 through March 2009, prosecutors said in the statement. They said he got more than $10.8 million in partnership income during that time, but never filed the required IRS Schedule K-1 form, though Sullivan & Cromwell provided him with it.
“Instead of paying his taxes, O’Brien paid for various personal expenses, including funding an antique books business that he partly owned, renovating his lakeside weekend home in the Adirondacks, and traveling internationally,” prosecutors said in the statement. “S&C learned of O’Brien’s failure to file returns and to pay taxes to the IRS and the states of California and New York in March 2009. He formally resigned his partnership at S&C on March 31, 2009.”
O’Brien was ordered to pay $2,866,832 in restitution.