Below-Guidelines Sentences for Tax Defendants

September 17, 2015  |  New York Law Journal

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Booker, district judges have had greater discretion in sentencing defendants based on a wide range of factors deemed relevant by Congress. This ability to consider the facts and circumstances of each defendant has resulted in a trend toward below-Guidelines sentences in tax cases generally and especially in cases arising out of undisclosed offshore accounts. This article considers this trend in light of the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in United States v. Warner, which affirmed a substantial downward variance based, in part, on the defendant’s extraordinary personal background and charitable good works, his attempt to join the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, and the sentences imposed on similarly-situated defendants. 

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