7th Circuit affirms tax convictions of Fort Wayne entrepreneur

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A man whose family spent millions while he pleaded poverty to gain need-based scholarships for his children and failed to report foreign bank accounts lost the federal appeal of his conviction on multiple tax charges Thursday.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected defense arguments in United States of America v. James Simon, 11-1837, affirming his conviction on charges of filing false income tax returns, failing to file reports of foreign bank accounts, mail fraud and financial aid fraud.

Simon, a Fort Wayne entrepreneur with international business interests that the 7th Circuit said “require a flowchart to unravel,” claimed a family trust based in the Cook Islands, as well as businesses in Gibraltar, Cyprus and Ukraine. The opinion notes that Simon’s wife, Denise, committed suicide days after federal agents searched the couple’s home.

“In his defense, Simon sought to demonstrate that the money he received from various entities was loaned to him and thus was not taxable,” Judge Rovner wrote for the panel, “At worst, he explained, he mischaracterized some of the transactions, but not in a manner that violated any criminal law.”

"Because we have determined that both the (foreign bank account reporting) counts and the false tax return counts will stand, there is no basis to challenge the remaining counts," the court ruled in affirming the convictions.



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