Ex-BDO partner gets 3 months in prison for tax shelter scheme

NEW YORK, June 10 Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:15pm EDT

NEW YORK, June 10 (Reuters) - A former partner at accounting firm BDO Seidman was sentenced to three months in prison Tuesday after admitting to participating in a massive tax shelter scheme that defrauded the U.S. government.

Robert Greisman, 63, was the third one-time BDO partner to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan this week for a tax shelter conspiracy involving their firm and the law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist.

Greisman pleaded guilty to conspiracy, tax evasion and Internal Revenue Service obstruction charges in 2009. Four other BDO partners or employees had also pleaded guilty in the case.

BDO USA, as the accounting firm is now known, agreed in June 2012 to pay $50 million to resolve related government claims through a deferred prosecution agreement.

Greisman had sought probation after agreeing to cooperate with authorities, an argument also used by Charles Bee and Adrian Dicker, two former BDO vice chairmen.

But Pauley said jail was required in light of the "breathtaking" fraud, which caused the United States to lose $1.5 billion in tax revenue. He issued prison terms of 1-1/3 years for Bee and 10 months for Dicker on Monday.

"The rule of law demands punishment be meted out here," Pauley said.

Greisman's jail term will be followed by three years of probation, including six months of home confinement. He was also ordered, together with other co-conspirators, to make more than $69 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

"My regret is ever-present in my mind each and every day," Greisman told Pauley on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Greisman, who worked in BDO's Chicago office from 1998 to 2004, had designed, marketed and implemented fraudulent tax shelters with Jenkens & Gilchrist.

The government said he was the primary contact at BDO for two Jenkens partners, Paul Daugerdas and Donna Guerin, as well as David Parse, then a Deutsche Bank AG broker who prosecutors said participated in the scheme.

Greisman testified in 2011 in a trial against Daugerdas, Guerin and Parse as well as Denis Field, BDO's former chief executive officer, and another Deutsche broker, Raymond Brubaker. Brubaker was acquitted, while the other four were convicted.

Parse was sentenced in 2013 to 3-1/2 years in prison, while Daugerdas, Guerin and Field won a retrial. Guerin pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges ahead of the second trial and was sentenced last year to eight years in prison.

At the retrial, a jury acquitted Field in October while convicting Daugerdas on seven of 16 counts he faced, including conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud.

Daugerdas is scheduled for sentencing on June 25. In a court filing Monday, his lawyers argued against a 20-year prison sentenced recommended by the court's probation department, asking Pauley to instead impose no more than 2-1/2 years in jail.

The case is U.S. v. Daugerdas, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-cr-00581. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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