ILNews

Tax fraud lands attorney in prison

IL Staff
January 1, 2008
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An Indianapolis personal injury lawyer will spend time in prison for committing tax fraud by underreporting his income.

U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney of the Southern District's Indianapolis Division sentenced Robert E. Lehman to eight months in prison and six months of home detention after he pleaded guilty to making a false federal income tax return.

Lehman filed false personal income tax returns with the IRS in 2002, 2003, and 2004, by understating his business income. When he paid his clients from his firm's trust account, Lehman would cut two checks payable to the client. Then, he directed the client to endorse one check to him; these checks represented fees or income to Lehman's law practice. The firm would treat both of the checks as made payable to the client as cost of goods sold, so his net income was falsely underreported.

Over the course of three years, Lehman underpaid more than $100,000 in federal income tax.

Lehman also will have one year of supervised release after his imprisonment. He also was fined $10,000. Lehman has paid $236,000 back to the IRS for tax, penalties, and interest.

Lehman has been in trouble in the past. Last year, he was suspended from practicing law for 120 days for trying to have opposing counsel agree to a continuance of a trial in exchange for Lehman's client not filing a complaint against the opposing counsel.

In 2004, he received a public reprimand from the Indiana Supreme Court for showing written jury witness questions to his witness over objections from opposing counsel and before the judge ruled on the issue, causing a mistrial. Lehman also removed a book, which contained opposing counsel's notes regarding cross-examining a witness, from opposing counsel's table despite an objection from opposing counsel.
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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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