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Former E&Y Partners Get Prison Time

MANHATTAN (CN) - Two former partners of Ernst & Young, both of them attorneys, were sentenced to federal prison Thursday for helping rich people dodge their taxes. Robert Coplan was sentenced to 3 years and Martin Nissenbaum to 2½ years, after a 10-week jury trial.

Prosecutors said Coplan and Nissenbaum "led an effort to design and market tax shelter transactions used by wealthy individuals to eliminate, reduce, or defer tax liabilities on annual income that generally exceeded $10 or $20 million. Between 1999 and 2002, tax shelter transactions implemented by the defendants and their co-conspirators generated billions of dollars in noneconomic or paper tax losses that were used to offset actual income or gain recognized by the firm's clients."

Coplan, 57, of Plano, Texas, also was fined $75,000. He is a former branch chief for the IRS Legislation and Regulations Division.

Nissenbaum, 54, of Brooklyn, was fined $100,000.

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