Swiss Tax Dodge Ends After 40 Years

     MANHATTAN (CN) – An 83-year-old New York watch dealer pleaded guilty to state charges of filing phony income taxes for more than 40 years with the help of UBS, to conceal what he thought were secret Swiss accounts.

     Jules Robbins pleaded guilty to two counts of filing false instruments, and agreed to pay the state more than $850,000 in taxes and penalties, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge.
     The District Attorney’s Office also accused two other former UBS clients, Ernest Vogliano and Federico Hernandez, of hiding Swiss accounts through sham companies set up in Hong Kong and Panama.
     Robbins admitted he opened an account with UBS in Zurich in 1967 with the help of a Swiss attorney, using the name of a shell corporation in Hong Kong. As of 2007, the account held $42 million in assets, prosecutors said.
     In February 2009, UBS entered into a $780 million deferred-prosecution agreement with the U.S. government, after admitting it helped the defendants and other taxpayers dodge the IRS, prosecutors said.
     As part of the agreement, UBS provided the identities and account information of some of its clients to the United States.
     Robbins, who owns a watch distribution company, and Hernandez, 44, pleaded guilty to federal tax charges in April. They each face up to 15 years in prison.
     Vogliano, 80, and Hernandez, a financial adviser, now face state charges for filing false tax returns. Vogliano also is accused of offering a false instrument for filing. Each felony is punishable by a state prison sentence of up to 4 years.

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