Robert Smith, a Black American billionaire, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners admitted his involvement in a tax evasion scheme for 15 years and entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to cooperate with ongoing investigations on the mRoberatter.
Smith is the wealthiest Black American with a net worth of $7 billion, He gained widespread popularity last year when he promised to pay off the student loans of the graduating class of Morehouse College.
According to the DOJ, Smith also agreed to pay a total of more than $139 million in taxes and penalties. That amount includes approximately $56 million in taxes and penalties arising from unreported income and $82 million in taxes and penalties from concealing his bank accounts overseas.
Additionally, Smith agreed to abandon his protective claims for a refund totaling approximately $182 million, which were file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The protective refund claims include in par his charitable contribution deductions in 2018 and 2019.
In his statement of facts, the billionaire and private equity firm CEO admitted that he “engaged in an illegal scheme to illegal scheme to conceal income and evade taxes he owed by using an offshore trust structure with related foreign corporations and offshore bank accounts” from 2000 to 2015.
Smith also admitted that he willfully filed series false documents with the IRS and the Treasury Department as part of his illegal tax evasion scheme.
Smith’s tax evasion problems tied to fellow billionaire Robert Brockman
As part of the agreement, the DOJ and the IRS will not prosecute him for his wrongdoing but he will cooperate in the agency’s ongoing tax evasion investigations against Texas billionaire Robert Brockman.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, David Anderson said, “It is never too late to do the right thing. It is never too late, to tell the truth. Smith committed serious crimes, but he also agreed to cooperate. Smith’s agreement to cooperate has put him on a path away from indictment.”
His tax problems stem from a $1 billion investment in Vista Equity Partners’ first fund 20 years ago. An offshore foundation tied to Brockman made that investment. The DOJ and the IRS have been investigating whether Smith failed to pay U.S. taxes on approximately $200 million assets transferred through offshore accounts linked to Brockman.
Brockman is facing 39 counts of criminal charges including conspiracy, tax evasion (7counts), wire fraud (20 counts), failing to file foreign bank account reports (6 counts), money laundering, and other offenses.
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