12 April 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced that Owen George Fiore was sentenced today to 18 months in prison by Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker for income tax evasion. Mr. Fiore, 70, a tax attorney practicing in San Jose, was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 18, 2003, and pleaded guilty on September 28, 2004. In addition to the 18 month prison sentence, Judge Walker sentenced Mr. Fiore to serve 3 years of supervised release and to pay a $25,000 fine and $626,623 in restitution (Mr. Fiore has already paid the restitution). He is scheduled to surrender into federal custody on July 1, 2005.
As a consequence of his omission of substantial amounts of business receipts and the capital gain from his law practice, Mr. Fiore knowingly filed a false and fraudulent federal income tax return for the tax year 1999 understating his taxable income by $522,594 and understating his income tax due the government by $214,420. In the plea agreement, Mr. Fiore agreed that the total tax loss to the government for purposes of sentencing is $626,623. That amount includes the tax loss for 1999, for which Mr. Fiore pleaded guilty, and the understatements of tax for 1996, 1997 and 1998, which were charged in the indictment.
Owen Fiore is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of California and has been engaged in the practice of law since 1962. He is also a licensed certified public accountant in California. He obtained his CPA license in 1960 and still maintains it though he does not practice as a certified public accountant. During the years 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 until July 1, 1999, he owned and operated The Fiore Law Group in San Jose, California. On July 1, 1999, he entered into a partnership agreement with John Ramsbacher. Mr. Fiore’s law practice during 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 specialized in the practice of estates and trusts, family business and wealth succession, entity planning including family partnerships, and included a significant practice in tax litigation. Mr. Fiore holds the designation of Certified Specialist in Taxation from the California Board of Legal Specialization.
In pleading guilty, Mr. Fiore admitted that he knowingly and willfully understated the business receipts from his law practice in the total amount of $473,978 on his 1999 federal income tax return which he prepared and filed. Instead of utilizing the business records and bank records of the law firm to accurately compute his business receipts for 1999, Mr. Fiore chose to understate them by a substantial amount.
Also, when Mr. Fiore entered into the agreement with John Ramsbacher to operate the law practice as a partnership, it was agreed that Mr. Ramsbacher would pay Mr. Fiore $37,500 to buy into the law practice. Mr. Ramsbacher paid the $37,500. Mr. Fiore, however, did not report the $37,500 on his federal income tax return for 1999 though he knew that the $37,500 payment should have been reported as a capital gain.
Finally, at the time the partnership was formed, Mr. Ramsbacher and Mr. Fiore agreed that certain client payments received after July 1, 1999, would be paid to Mr. Fiore as receipts of his sole proprietorship. Mr. Ramsbacher did pay over to Mr. Fiore from the partnership bank account in 1999 a total of $117,933, which represented client payments due to Mr. Fiore’s sole proprietorship for services rendered up through June 30, 1999. That money was deposited into Mr. Fiore’s personal bank accounts, however, he did not report the $117,933 on his Schedule C tax return for 1999 though he knew that those payments were income to him.
This prosecution is the result of a two year investigation by agents of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division. David L. Denier is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case with the assistance of legal technician Kathy Tat.
A copy of this press release and related court filings may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can . Related court documents and information may be found on the U.S. District Court website at www.cand.uscourts.gov or on .
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at Luke.Macaulay3@usdoj.gov .