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Accounting firm executives charged with tax fraud

[JURIST] US federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment [press release, PDF] Wednesday charging four current and former partners of "Big-Four" [Wikipedia backgrounder] accounting firm Ernst & Young [corporate website] with tax fraud. The indictment alleges that the defendants created tax shelters through development of "false and fraudulent factual scenarios", and marketed them to individuals with taxable income generally exceeding $10-20 million. The four are charged with a number of violations, including conspiring to defraud the IRS, tax evasion, making false statements, and impeding and impairing the lawful functioning of the IRS. Prosecutors decided against bringing criminal charges against Ernst & Young itself.

Lawyers for the two present Ernst & Young partners, Richard Shapiro and Martin Nissenbaum, said in statements that their clients had not engaged in any wrongdoing, and were cooperating with authorities. Lawyers for former partners Robert Coplan and Brian Vaughn have not yet commented on the case. Reuters has more. The International Herald Tribune has additional coverage.

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