Without a word, paintings can tell profound stories of love gained, battles lost, tragedy and triumph. It is possible that an art historian and consultant recently indicted on allegations of tax crimes is uniquely qualified to choose which masterpiece most accurately describes her legal problems.
She has lectured on modern and contemporary art for prestigious museums and arts programs from New York to Milan to Paris, and advised wealthy collectors on which pieces to buy and on which to pass. While her ability to assess art might be world-class, prosecutors say she used poor judgment in her efforts to hide overseas bank accounts from the Internal Revenue Service.
The 59-year-old's current legal problems had their genesis in 2003, when her father died and left her a secret inheritance of more than $4 million, Forbes reports. As executor of his estate, she reportedly filed court documents falsely pegging the value of the estate at less than $1 million.
With the help of a Swiss financial adviser, she then created bank accounts in Switzerland to hide the bulk of her inheritance. Prosecutors say she also failed to report the interest and income generated by the accounts.
She also failed to file each year a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
As our regular readers know, failure to file an FBAR can result in significant financial penalties and even criminal charges.
In this case, the art consultant faces up to three years in a federal prison for filing false income tax returns, as well as up to three years on a charge of obstructing and impeding the due administration of tax laws.
For those who worry that they might one day face sanctions over failures to file FBARs or false tax returns, an experienced tax attorney can assess your situation and help you make informed decisions about your legal options.