Tax Evasion and the U.S. Mail

UBS and Beda Singenberger

Beda Singenberger of Zurich Switzerland, who ran Sinco Treuhand, a wealth management and tax advisory business in Switzerland, disclosed a list of U.S. clients (hiding money in Switzerland) in the mail, which was retrieved by U.S. authorities.

Over an eleven year period, Singenberger helped sixty people in the U.S. hide $184M in secret offshore accounts under colorful names; i.e., “Real Cool Investments” and “Wanderlust Foundation”. His client list included details: client residences, their Swiss banks and the ways they hid accounts from the IRS. The U.S. government is “mining the list” which has already ensnared three “tax cheats”.

1. Jacques Wajsfelner, an 83-year old exile from Nazi Germany, who pled guilty to hiding $5.7M from the IRS, sentenced to three months house arrest.

2. Michael Candle, a retired U.S. Army surgeon, who held an inheritance via a Lichtenstein foundation, which had an account at a now-defunct Swiss Bank, Wegelin Bank, pled guilty in New York on December 21, 2012, and awaits sentencing.

3. Cancer researcher Michael Reiss, who pled guilty.

Since 2008, U.S. prosecutors have charged at least 86 people in their crackdown on offshore tax evasion including two dozen bankers, lawyers and advisors. An additional 38,000 Americans have sought to avoid prosecution by entering into the IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program.

Beda Singenberger was charged in New York federal court in July 2011 with conspiracy to “cheat the IRS”. He is accused of managing, opening and transferring accounts for U.S. clients. He visited U.S. clients, delivering cash from their undeclared accounts or taking cash back to deposit in Switzerland. A client in New York banked with UBS for a half-century and had a $74M account, while another client in California banked with UBS (which held $47M).

To date, Singenberger has not made an appearance in U.S. court. Switzerland does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

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