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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Celebrity Lawyer Mickey Sherman Jailed for Nonpayment of $420k in Taxes

Sherman Celebrity lawyer Michael "Mickey" Sherman (husband of Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl), who represented Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel in his murder trial, was sentenced yesterday to one year in prison after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of failing to pay $420,000 in federal income taxes.

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Comments

Tell me again why failing to pay $420,000 in income taxes, which is essentially stealing $420,000, is a misdemeanor.

Oh, I forgot, this is white collar crime which is different from other crime.

Posted by: Sid | Dec 28, 2010 1:07:37 PM

@Sid,

I find it interesting that you consider not giving YOUR money to the Govt to be stealing. I thought stealing was taking what wasn't yours.

Also, I'll note that Rangel, Gietner, or any of the other folks President Obama surounds himself with who had issues with paying taxes have not (and will not) serve a single day in prison.

Posted by: Scott Jacobs | Dec 28, 2010 6:02:45 PM

Willful failure to pay *any* tax under Title 26 is a misdemeanor under the criminal statute. Does not matter whether it's $1 or $1 million.

Failure to pay a specific amount of taxes ($420,000 + interest and penalties in this circumstance) is a civil matter and will not result in any imprisonment without a corresponding criminal investigation and conviction. Note the lack of a willfulness requirement. Reliance on a tax advisor who gets your taxes wrong can result in civil enforcement but (usually) not prison time for the taxpayer.

Posted by: Vincent Kan | Dec 28, 2010 7:54:16 PM

@Scott Jacobs

"I find it interesting that you consider not giving YOUR money to the Govt to be stealing. I thought stealing was taking what wasn't yours."

If you take and use an iPod without paying for it with "your" money, you're arguably stealing it. Same applies to the taking and usage of public goods like roads, schools, energy, airways, radio and cable goods, security, and so forth. Sure, there's a grey area -- tourists aren't "stealing" roads or energy if they use them a few times without paying income taxes. But its nonsense to say Americans have no obligation to their government to pay for services rendered unto them.

If Mickey Sherman wanted to live and work in Stockholm or Beijing, he has a choice. Presumably Mickey Sherman made his choice to earn his income and reside in the U.S. For better or worse, that means he's obliged to pay his taxes. As with the iPod, such with residency: you want it, you gotta pay for it.

Posted by: JR | Dec 29, 2010 5:32:34 AM

Posted by: JR | Dec 29, 2010 8:32:34 AM

Stockholm and Beijing don't tax you for earnings you make when not working in their respective countries. What services did the US provide Sherman when he was working abroad? As for the rest of your example anyone receiving 'entitlements' is stealing as well since they not paying for the services rendered.

Posted by: cubanbob | Dec 29, 2010 9:53:12 AM