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Florida man cites U.S. Supreme Court in securities fraud defense

The Security and Exchange Commission is attempting to prevent BBX Capital Corp. Chairman and CEO Alan B. Levan from holding any position as an officer or executive of a publically traded company.

Levan and BBX were held liable for securities fraud and accounting fraud by a jury late last year. The CEO has an SEC fine pending against him for $1.56 million, while BBX faces a $5.2 million penalty. If the ban is enforced by the federal court, Levan will be out at BBX, BFC (majority owner of BBX) and Evergreen Corp. (the timeshare company that owns The Fountains, a resort in Orlando).

Florida concert promoter accused of massive fraud

An Orlando TV station reports that a former Florida concert promoter will be facing white collar charges this fall. Prosecutors say the man's Worldwide Entertainment Inc. was a Ponzi scheme in which investors poured $300 million into the front-end and the defendant took funds from the back end for personal use and to pay off earlier investors. He faces accusations in federal court of fraud and money laundering this November.

The man was extradited from Brazil late last year, where he had apparently lived for a number of years. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, WOFL reports.

'Is that a bad cough or are you taking my savings?'

It used to mean that you had a bad cough or that you drove a taxi at night or perhaps that you penned pulp fiction. Now "hacking" refers to surreptitious and often illegal activities on a computer.

Hackers looking for identifying information on individuals or from institutional data will break into individuals' computers, as well as into the data systems of banks, schools, retail chains, government facilities, credit agencies, insurance companies and just about any other person or place storing valuable information.

Determined not to do damage

A Florida therapist likens pedophilia to schizophrenia and diabetes: there is no cure for any of the conditions. A recent news article noted that "a relatively small percentage of sex offenders are actually 'pedophiles'" -- people who are sexually attracted to children.

Despite the virtually instantaneous negative reaction the word causes in most people, not all pedophiles are criminal. In fact, there is a growing internet support group comprised of people who identify as pedophiles, but say they are determined not to act on their attractions.

It's time

The soup is ready. It's filled with every letter in the alphabet and a pungent patchwork of laws, rules, regulations, forms and paperwork. The soup? It has the unappetizing acronym FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). And today, April 15, the Internal Revenue Service begins devouring the brackish brew, receiving returns and documents regarding the accounts Americans hold in other countries.

The IRS website is marginally helpful to laypeople on the subject of what FATCA-related forms to submit and what information should fill those forms. As we have noted in this space several times, the IRS and Department of Justice are aggressive in their pursuit of taxpayers who have failed in the past to report offshore holdings (trusts, corporations and bank accounts). They're hungry not only for FATCA data, but names of people who have failed to properly file in the past.

A CPA, bookkeeper and IRS agent walk into a bar...

The trio could only possibly be funnier if they weren't talking about you. At this time of year, it can be difficult to find humor in the steady march of time toward April 15. But a publication for tax professionals -- Tax Pro Today -- has collected a few anecdotes from tax preparation specialists that you might find humorous.

Let's take a quick look at what people who prepare taxes for a living find funny...

Turn the page

As another page on the calendar turns, all eyes go to that date directly in the middle of April. Tax day elicits almost universal dread, but perhaps most among those who have in the past not reported foreign accounts as required.

As part of its years-long effort to ferret out concealment of offshore accounts, the U.S. Justice Department recently held a press conference to announce the first non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with a Swiss bank. Banks that agree to the strict terms imposed on them by the DOJ are eligible to avoid prosecution for helping Americans avoid taxation of the account funds.

Can I enter into the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program? | Florida Offshore Bank Attorney

Should I enter into the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program now? | Florida Offshore Bank Attorney

Florida school district investigation is more than academic

Anyone who knows the name of the Florida school system that recently held a "Brain Bowl" competition among high school teams deserves a pat on the back. If you guessed the Leon County system, you were correct. And if you knew that Leon County Schools is also the focus of an FBI investigation, give yourself another pat.

FBI agents investigating allegations of bribery, fraud and theft in federally funded programs recently raided the school district's technology center, seizing email archives. Last fall, a federal grand jury issued a subpoena for documents related to 17 school construction projects over the past 8 years.

Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A.
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