October 11, 2017 / 10:00 PM / 2 years ago

New York lawyer gets two years in prison for tax evasion scheme

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York lawyer charged with failing to report more than $3 million of income from tax shelter and other transactions he handled at the law firm Herrick Feinstein, where he led the tax practice, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday.

Harold Levine, 59, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan, prosecutors said. He had pleaded guilty to attempted tax evasion and obstruction charges in June.

An attorney for Levine could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prosecutors announced charges against Levine in October 2016, claiming he diverted the money from Herrick Feinstein with the help of Ronald Katz, a certified public accountant who hid more than $1.2 million he received for his involvement from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The scheme began in 2004 and lasted roughly a decade, and included the use of limited liability companies controlled by Levine, Katz or both, according to an indictment.

The government in June 2014 filed a civil lawsuit accusing Levine of cheating the IRS out of more than $129 million by participating in roughly 90 illegal tax schemes, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of improper deductions. That case has been on hold since July 2015.

Levine left Herrick Feinstein in 2012 to take over the tax practice of another law firm, Moritt Hock & Hamroff. A spokesman for that firm said last October that Levine had left voluntarily in June 2016.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York, editing by G Crosse

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