Al Capone, one of America’s most notorious gangsters, sold alcohol during prohibition, rigged elections and committed murder. He went to Alcatraz in 1931, not for any of these notorious crimes but for—you guessed it—tax evasion. He was actually released on parole in 1939 but in a twist of poetic justice, he suffered mental and physical deterioration due to late-stage neurosyphilis.
High-profile madam Heidi Fleiss didn’t go to jail for her prostitution ring. Nope. In 1997 she received a seven-year sentence for tax evasion. In her defense, just what would you list in the “occupation” box?
Martha Stewart actually went to jail for insider trading, but she’s also a convicted tax evader. Before heading to prison, she was forced to pay $220,000 in back taxes to the State of New York. My guess: it wasn’t “a good thing.”
You may not remember Dennis Kozlowski, but the former CEO of Tyco received 25 years in prison for tax fraud. In 2002, he purchased paintings for 13 million dollars—poor fellow just didn’t pay any sales taxes.Ever wonder why Crocodile Dundee (Paul Hogan) disappeared from the Hollywood scene? The actor was accused of owing over 100 million to the Australian IRS. His famous response? “Come and get me, you miserable bastards!” They did. It took eight years, but Mr. Hogan settled with the government. The terms reached after mediation remain confidential, and the Australian Taxation Office declined to comment.
And then there’s O.J. Although Mr. Simpson beat a murder conviction, he was dubbed one of the worst tax evaders in California history. Mr. Football again thought the rules didn’t apply to him and moving to Florida to avoid the penalty (the Federal Government cannot confiscate a home for failure to pay taxes in Florida). Unfortunately for him, he was later arrested and convicted of a Las Vegas robbery. O.J. is now spending time in the big house.So, you see, you can avoid taxes. Maybe later you’ll wish you’d paid, maybe you won’t. Unlike this narly lot, I suspect some individuals might successful avoid . After all, you never hear about criminals who aren’t caught. Don’t we all know a waitress/waiter who doesn’t claim all her/his tips?
That said, this individual will be filing a 1040 on April 15th. Do you know anyone personally who’s avoided taxes—or suffered the penalty? No names please :-).