William Tiner also will pay almost $1-million in restitution and fines to the Internal Revenue Service, a judge rules.
By Times Staff Writer
Published May 8, 2004
A Safety Harbor business owner convicted in January in federal court in Tampa of using fraudulent trusts to evade about $900,000 in taxes was sentenced Friday to five years in prison, followed by three years of unsupervised release.
U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara also ordered William Tiner to pay $928,864 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, and imposed an additional fine of $25,000.
Tiner had been convicted on four counts of income tax evasion and three counts of filing false corporate income tax returns.
Tiner's arrest and conviction was part of a nationwide crackdown on abusive and fraudulent offshore trusts, a push that began in the late 1990s. Such trusts, and related offshore financial maneuvers, account for one of the largest losses of tax revenue each year, experts say.
Offshore tax havens maintain strict confidentially laws regarding the disclosure of financial and banking information. For the most part, the countries do not require that the trusts be recorded, so tracking a specific trust is close to impossible.
The government claimed that Tiner moved income from his software company into several trusts, which reported the money as "management fees" instead of income.
According to trial testimony, Tiner used domestic and foreign trusts and foreign companies to conceal and divert $2.5-million in profits from his Clearwater-based computer software company, WLT Software of Florida Inc. between 1996 and 1999, evading over $900,000 in corporate taxes between 1996 and 1999.