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April 04, 2008

Compare and Contrast.

From the Bluefield (WV) Daily Telegraph:

A most unusual three-day sentencing hearing came to an emotional close Wednesday afternoon as a former southern West Virginia nightclub owner received a 37-month prison sentence and was fined $75,000 for failing to report more than $200,000 he skimmed from the door charge at one or more of the nightclubs he owned.

Contrast the fate of our West Virginia strip club guy with this report from Forbes about a bigger fish from Orange County, California:

As part of the plea deal, Olenicoff paid $52 million in back federal taxes, interest and civil fraud penalties and agreed to bring all the money in his foreign accounts (believed to total in the hundreds of millions) back to the U.S. Forbes estimates the self-made, Russian-born Olenicoff, who came to the U.S. at age 15, is now worth $1.6 billion.

While the false-tax-return charge is punishable by up to three years in jail, Olenicoff's deal with prosecutors, together with federal sentencing guidelines, made it unlikely he would get more than six months. Then last month, a U.S. probation officer filed a pre-sentencing report recommending Olenicoff get off with just one year of probation and a $3,500 criminal fine.

I love this:

But Robbins, a former federal tax prosecutor who is now a partner with Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, in Beverly Hills, rejected any suggestion that Olenicoff is getting off lightly and insisted the felony conviction alone would indeed have a strong deterrent effect.

Yeah, that $3,500 fine and probation will really teach the guy worth $1,600,000,000 a lesson he won't soon forget.

Via the TaxProf and the Sentencing Law and Policy blog.

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