Paul L. Caron

Sunday, June 24, 2007

L.A. Civil Rights Attorney Yagman Convicted of Tax Evasion

Interesting article in the L.A. Times: Civil Rights Lawyer Yagman Found Guilty of Tax Evasion, by Joe Mozingo & Henry Weinstein

In court filings, [Yagman's defense attorney] Tarlow argued that the case was a "vindictive prosecution" for Yagman's "contentious history with federal law enforcement agencies." ... But after a contentious four-week trial, in which Yagman was on the stand for several days, the jury didn't believe his claim that he was unfairly targeted. It upheld every count and act alleged in the June 2006 indictment: that he hid his assets, committed bankruptcy fraud and laundered money in a scheme to avoid paying more than $200,000 in state and federal taxes.

Prosecutors alleged that Yagman had transferred the deed of his house to his girlfriend, K.D. Mattox, and deposited all of his income into her account, while signing checks in her name. They also claimed he had filed for bankruptcy in New York so trustees would not find his assets in California. ... Tarlow, for the defense, presented benign explanations for the same actions. He said Yagman transferred the deed to his house to Mattox to give her a sense of security in their relationship after she moved from Orange County to be with him, he said. The jury deliberated about 12 hours before reaching its unanimous verdict Friday.

Reaction to the verdict was widely split. Former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates let out a slow, deep chuckle. "What can I say? He's been playing the system for a long, long time," he said. "This is a real bad man, a disgrace to the bar." ... At the other end of the spectrum, Paul Hoffman, former legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, called the conviction "a tragedy."

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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