*The case results reported on this website do not constitute a guarantee,
warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.
The Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz recently had the honor of representing
a client who was charged with a number of very serious charges. Fortunately,
the ordeal ended with great results. Our client was charged with two counts
of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm. Each charge carried a 25-year minimum-mandatory
sentence and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The client was also
charged with one count of Shooting into a Building and one count of Shooting
from a Vehicle.
After many months of thorough investigation, preparation, and analysis
of the case we were ultimately successful. The Office of the State Attorney
dropped all charges against our client. We welcomed the opportunity to
assist the client through this difficult and stressful ordeal. The vigorous
defense of liberty motivates us in our representation of every client.
We recently completed the representation of a husband and wife who were
under audit by the California taxing authorities. The audit was complex
because it involved state income tax that was tied to conversion and recharacterization
of retirement plans. The clients had previously been subject to an IRS
audit which reflected that their treatment of the retirement accounts
The state taxing authority, known as the California Franchise Tax Board,
conducted an extensive examination and investigation which lasted almost
2 years. We worked closely with a forensic accountant, retained by my
firm, and had the benefit of cooperation from the original CPA’s
who prepared the federal and state tax returns. Throughout the course
of dealings with the State auditor and providing significant amounts of
documentation, we were able to establish that the clients’ actions
We recently received the final closing agreement from the Internal Revenue
Service formalizing the successful completion of the
Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) for a husband and wife who had an unreported offshore bank account.
The couple received notice in 2014 from their bank in Portugal regarding
the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The bank’s notice
advised of the agreement between Portugal and the United States under
FATCA. The bank in Portugal further advised that it would begin reporting
to the IRS information about any clients who are U.S. citizens.
My firm was retained by the couple and we were able to enter them into
the OVDP before the offshore bank reported the assets to the IRS. It was
important that we acted expeditiously on behalf of our client because
once the IRS receives information about an unreported offshore account,
a person is prohibited from entering the OVDP.
The IRS and Department of Justice are vigorously pursuing those with unreported
offshore accounts. The potential consequences for those targeted by the
IRS include criminal prosecution which can result in long terms in prison
and substantial fines: 50% of the value of the account each year that
it was not reported. The client’s prompt action in retaining us
allowed us to enter them in the OVDP before the government received the
bank records from Portugal under FATCA.
Once we entered the couple in the OVDP, we were able to successfully complete
the OVDP thereby avoiding criminal prosecution and large civil penalties.
Recently, we successfully convinced the Department of Justice to dismiss
charges against our client. Federal charges are significant, but in this
case even more so as our client was a federal employee who stood to lose
his job and benefits. The Department of Homeland Security interviewed
witnesses and conducted its investigation. We were retained after charges
were filed, but before the first hearing. Before the first appearance,
we made a meaningful and strategic presentation to the prosecutors which
included highlighting gaps in the government’s evidence, providing
additional exculpatory facts, and arguing the law that would make a successful
prosecution very difficult. A Federal Judge dismissed the case with prejudice
a month later.
Recently we successfully completed the requirements for the Offshore Voluntary
Disclosure Program (OVDP) for one of our clients. The client had previously
lived outside the United States and had an offshore account which had
not been reported to the IRS. The client received a letter from the Swiss
bank explaining that it would provide information about the account to
the IRS pursuant to a 2013 Joint Statement between the U.S. Department
of Justice and the Swiss Federal Department of Finance. The client then
retained us. We placed our client into the OVDP and successfully resolved
the matter and the client did not have to face criminal charges for not
reporting the offshore account and not disclosing the offshore income
to the IRS.
In September 2014, a client of Mark Horwitz received an 89 page government
complaint which sought to prohibit this client from working in the tax
preparation business. The government was also seeking over $11 million
in disgorgement which was the client's business' gross receipts.
The non-jury trial began on March 8, 2016, during which three attorneys
from the Department of Justice Civil Tax Division represented the government.
Shortly before the trial, the client agreed to a permanent injunction
and went to trial on the sole issue of whether the government was entitled
to $11 million. After researching our client's tax documents and other
business records, we presented our evidence through cross examination
of the government's witnesses during the trial.
Our defense strategy involved discrediting the government's evidence,
including their statistical analysis and sampling techniques, which is
how the government concluded that our client owed disgorgement of $11
million. At the end of the case, both sides were required to submit legal
memorandums to the judge in lieu of a closing argument.
Ultimately, the judge ruled in favor of our client on the disgorgement.
The court concluded in its written opinion, on April 13, 2016, that the
government had not met its burden of providing the court with sufficient
information to reasonably approximate the amount of unjust enrichment.
The Court ruled that the government was entitled to receive no disgorgement
and therefore ordered that the government takes $0.00 rather than the
$11,000,000 it sought at trial.
We are dedicated to our research, trial preparation, trial strategy and
trial technique, to give our clients the upper hand in the courtroom.
We were honored to help this client avoid the $11,000,000 judgment sought
by the Department of Justice.