General Crime

Christopher B. Berg Portola Valley man was sentenced in federal court failing to report funds in Swiss bank accounts

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A Portola Valley man was sentenced in federal court on Wednesday to over a year in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to failing to report funds in Swiss bank accounts to the IRS. Christopher B. Berg was found guilty of setting up bank accounts at UBS in Switzerland to shelter $642,070 of his income earned from working as a consultant from the Internal Revenue Service between 2001 and 2005.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said that prior to sentencing, Berg paid restitution to the IRS of more than $250,000 and a penalty of $287,896 for failure to properly report his foreign accounts. Haag said that based on court documents, Berg began working as a consultant in 1999 and then met with Beda Singenberger, a Swiss financial consultant, and a vice president of banking at UBS in San Francisco in 2000.

Berg and Singenberger discussed setting up a bank account to shelter a portion of his consulting income from taxation and beginning in 2001 and continuing through 2005, Berg deposited $642,070 in earned income into his UBS accounts through wire transfers, Haag said. Berg had previously plead guilty to failing to declare a foreign bank account that he controlled in 2005 that had a balance over $10,000, Haag said.

Berg withdrew money from his Swiss UBS accounts to purchase a vehicle, obtain cash while in Europe and pay the balance on a Eurocard he used while traveling in Europe, according to Haag. The judge determined that Berg had not disclosed the existence of his accounts at UBS in Switzerland to his accountant and failed to disclose his income earned by these accounts or the consulting income deposited into the accounts.

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