First taxpayer charged in UBS scandal

Less than two weeks after the official amnesty program ended for taxpayers who had previously failed to disclose income from offshore accounts, the first high profile criminal case involving a taxpayer has been resolved.

Steven Michael Rubinstein, of Boca Raton, an accountant and US client of UBS AG, the Swiss Bank that caused an international uproar when it was implicated in a wide-ranging scheme to assist foreign account holders in hiding income, was successfully prosecuted in the U.S. government's offshore tax-evasion probe. Rubinstein received three years of probation and a year of home-confinement, and was fined $40,000, on charges of filing a false tax return. The sentence was much lighter than expected.

The IRS charged that Rubinstein deposited more than $2 million in gold coins into his UBS accounts and used the funds to buy and sell securities. Rubinstein did not disclose the account on his tax return, as required by U.S. law, nor did he report the income generated by the accounts. You can read the official complaint here (downloads as a pdf). Rubinstein was arrested in April of this year, and has the unhappy distinction of being the first taxpayer associated with the case to be officially charged.