Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Caroline D. Ciraolo, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division, announced that Matthew Libous, an attorney licensed to practice in New York, was found guilty yesterday of three counts of subscribing to false tax returns for the 2007, 2008, and 2009 tax years following a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti. Judge Briccetti also found that Libous was not guilty of false subscription counts for his 2010, 2011, and 2011 amended returns and not guilty of one count of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”).
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Yesterday’s verdict was a just conclusion for Matthew Libous’s repeated, willful failures to report all his income to the IRS over a period of years. As a practicing attorney, Libous knew better. My Office will continue to make every effort to ensure that everyone pays his or her fair share of taxes.”
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo said: “Yesterday’s conviction should serve as clear notice that the Tax Division, working with IRS Criminal Investigation and the Offices of the U.S. Attorneys, will vigorously enforce our nation’s criminal tax laws and prosecute those individuals, including legal professionals, who willfully file false federal tax returns.”
According to the Superseding Indictment and the evidence presented at trial, Libous engaged in the practice of law from 2006 through 2008. Libous deposited the fees he received into his personal bank account but never reported them on his tax return. In 2008, Libous became a minority partner and manager of Wireless Construction Solutions, LLC (“WCS”), a company that maintained cellular telephone towers. Libous caused WCS to pay thousands of dollars in his personal expenses on his behalf from 2008 to 2011. In returning his verdict yesterday, following a three-day bench trial, Judge Briccetti said that he found that Libous willfully failed to report the income from his law practice in 2007 and 2008 and the income he received as a result of his causing WCS to pay his personal expenses in 2008 and 2009.
Each of the three false subscription counts of which Libous was found guilty carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. Sentencing is scheduled for April 29, 2015.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney James McMahon and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kameros of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are in charge of the prosecution.