Aspen-area couple to be sentenced in tax scheme, agree to pay IRS more than $800,000
A Woody Creek woman pleaded guilty Friday to willful failure to pay income taxes, more than three months after her husband admitted to tax evasion.
Sandra J. Zuckerman, 66, entered her plea before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn in Denver federal court. U.S. Attorney John Walsh and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Stephen Boyd announced the plea in a press release.
Blackburn is scheduled to sentence Sandra Zuckerman on Sept. 16. She and her husband were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 25, 2012. Mathew Zuckerman pleaded guilty on Feb. 18 and is scheduled to be sentenced by Blackburn on July 31.
The press release cites information contained in court documents, beginning in 1986 and continuing through 2009, that showed the Zuckermans either failed to file an income tax return or filed a return using incorrect amounts. From 2003 through 2009 no income tax returns were filed with the IRS.
Matthew Zuckerman’s tax scheme dated back to 1998, when he set up a company in California; its specialty was taking small firms public through reverse mergers of existing shells. Over a period of 10 years, he “continued to conceal his assets and business affairs from the IRS by utilizing additional corporations and trusts in order to avoid payment and collection of the Zuckerman’s outstanding tax liabilities,” the release says.
The IRS hit the Zuckermans with tax liens, prompting the couple to cause the deed to their Woody Creek residence, purchased for approximately $1.2 million, to be recorded in 1999 in the name of Hyperpanel University Inc., a Nevada corporation that listed the names of a cat and a dog as its officers and directors on its filings with the Secretary of State, the press release says. Similarly, in 2004, Mathew Zuckerman formed a company called Treya Inc. in Nevada that they used to buy a $1.8 million home in 2004 in Toluca Lake, California. “Based on the directions of Mathew, Sandra used her name from an earlier marriage, Sandra Eberli, to be used in connection with transactions conducted by Treya,” the press release says.
Matthew Zuckerman also fraudulently profited to the tune of $500,000 with a trust he created in 2004.
Mathew Zuckerman has agreed to pay the IRS $693,706 in restitution and his wife has agreed to pay $112,511 in restitution to the IRS, the release says.
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UPDATE 5:27 p.m. — Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon has reopened in both directions Saturday evening after a safety closure due to a flash flood warning. There were no reported mud/debris slides.