New York Attorney Steven Etking was charged in District Court of NY on counts of conspiring to defraud the United States, corruptly endeavoring to impede the internal revenue laws and tax evasion.
Etkind was a partner and the head of a New York law firm’s tax, trust and estates group and also a certified public accountant. According to the indictment, Etkind was named co-executor of a successful entrepreneur client who died in 2008 with an estate valued at over $35 million.
The client’s “will” directed the creation of charitable trusts for the sole purpose of donating money from his estate to the charitable organizations. Etkind and a currently unnamed co-conspirator originally directed donations to legitimate organizations, and then set-up phony charities in which he was named co-trustee and used these to steal more than $3.5 million from the estate. Etkind used part of the money he stole to purchase a 6,300 square foot home in the name of someone else.
To cover his theft, Etkind filed false personal, corporate and charitable trust tax returns with the IRS and made false and misleading statements to the IRS during an audit and examination.
If convicted, Etkind faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, five years for each count of tax evasion and three years for obstruction.