Described as a doyenne of the New York art scene, gallery owner Mary Boone intends to ask for leniency after pleading guilty to allegations of tax crime that were the result of an IRS criminal tax investigation.
Our tax attorneys work throughout the United States with high-asset individuals and corporations to avoid—or manage—allegations that can result in criminal tax charges. Whether it is a failure to file a return, irregularities with foreign bank accounts, or fraudulent tax returns, we are experienced with strategies and solutions to get the best possible outcome for our clients.
In the case of Ms. Boone, attorneys for the embattled dealer are using personal history to circumvent guilty pleas made to several serious tax charges.
In September, 2018, Ms. Boone pled guilty to criminal tax fraud charges that included:
- Directing her accountant to file inaccurate federal tax returns in 2009, 2010, and 2011
- Underreporting the profit of her gallery
- Using business proceeds to pay over one million in personal expenses, and conversely reporting the personal expenses as business debt
- The money siphoned from her business, but reported as a business expense, was used to remodel her apartment, and pay rent on another apartment while she was remodeling the first apartment
- Boone and her accountant cooked her books, transferring funds between bank accounts while falsely characterizing the funds as artist commissions, and other valid business expenses
Overall, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports that Ms. Boone incurred a total loss to the IRS of more than $3 million, which does not include the penalties and interest that will be charged on the sum. For these deeds, Ms. Boone could face up to three years in prison.
Having pled guilty, it is up to the defense counsel to characterize the conduct of Ms. Boone in a manner that provides some understanding of why their client did what she did. In this case, the defense case is all uphill.
Speaking about the defendant, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman notes, “Mary Boone, a Manhattan art gallery owner, admitted to cheating the U.S. tax system by blatantly lying about her expenses and playing a shell game with bank accounts to hide her true assets. While tax evasion may seem like a victimless crime, it isn’t; all Americans must pay their taxes. And as Boone has learned, tax laws are not abstract.”
Asking for probation and home confinement instead of a prison sentence, defense counsel for Ms. Boone cites a childhood of poverty, instability, and mental health issues as the core explanation behind her behavior. Said her attorney in a legal memorandum to the court, “Behind the facade of success and strength lies a fragile and, at times, broken individual.”
It remains for the judge to balance the profiles proposed by the prosecution and defense in delivering a sentence. Should Ms. Boone avoid prison time, it will largely be due to the skill of her attorneys in overcoming significant odds for their client.
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