Curran Sentencing Hearing

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Judge Ryskamp sentences to 5 seconds of probation


<p>1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25</p> <p>UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA Case No. 12-80206-CR-RYSKAMP UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,) ) Plaintiff, ) ) -v) ) MARY ESTELLE CURRAN, ) ) Defendant. ) ) _________________________)</p> <p>West Palm Beach, Florida April 25, 2013 1:24 p.m.</p> <p>TRANSCRIPT OF SENTENCING PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE HONORABLE KENNETH L. RYSKAMP U.S. SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE</p> <p>Appearances: For the Government: MARK F. DALY US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICETAX DIVISION</p> <p>601 D Street NW, Room 7334 Washington, DC 20579 For the Defendant: BLACK SREBNICK KORNSPAN &amp; STUMPF BY: ROY BLACK, ESQ. 201 South Biscayne Boulevard Suite 1300Miami, Florida 33131</p> <p>Reporter: (561) 514-3728</p> <p>Karl Shires, RPR, FCRR Official Court Reporter 701 Clematis Street, Suite 258 West Palm Beach, Florida 33401</p> <p>STENOGRAPHICALLY RECORDED COMPUTER-AIDED TRANSCRIPT</p> <p>2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 present. (Call to Order of the Court.) THE COURT: You may be seated. First case will be United States</p> <p>Good afternoon. versus Curran.</p> <p>Counsel state their appearance, please. MR DALY: Your Honor, Mark Daly, Senior Litigation With me</p> <p>Counsel, Tax Division of the US Department of Justice.</p> <p>is Assistant United States Thomas Lanigan and Special Agent Scott Johnson of the IRS. THE COURT: MR. BLACK: All right. Good afternoon, Your Honor. Roy Black,</p> <p>Nathan Hoffman, and Jackie Perczek on behalf of Mrs. Curran, who is here as well. THE COURT: Okay. You've received a copy of the</p> <p>presentence report and reviewed it with your client? MR. BLACK: THE COURT: corrections? MR. BLACK: THE COURT: MR. BLACK: No, sir. All right. You may proceed. Yes, sir. And there are no errors, omissions, or</p> <p>Your Honor, we have no witnesses to</p> <p>We've sent you our sentencing memorandum. THE COURT: MR. BLACK: I have read it. And we have attached all of the letters.</p> <p>All that I intended to do was make some short remarks and</p> <p>3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 time. MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honor. proceed to the sentencing. THE COURT: All right. I'll hear from you at this</p> <p>Mrs. Curran accepts full responsibility for these offenses that she's pled guilty to. She blames nobody but</p> <p>herself for being in this position, about being charged and being subjected to sentencing before the Court today. However, we believe that there are mitigating circumstances that make her case different than virtually all of the others who were prosecuted or not prosecuted under similar circumstances as her with these offshore accounts, and we believe that she has shown an extraordinary acceptance of responsibility. And, Your Honor, to go through just -- I'm not going to go through the same things we wrote in our sentencing memorandum, but I do want to highlight a couple of issues. First is that this is a woman who was unsophisticated in financial matters, had no training in finance or taxes or handling even her own personal accounts. For the first 30</p> <p>years of her marriage she did not even see the monthly bank statements. Everything was handled by her husband Mortimer,</p> <p>Senior, who was a financial analyst, an investment banker, a man who was very well versed in finances, and he's the one who handled all of their accounts.</p> <p>4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 She did not work outside the house at all except she spent her life in volunteer work. I mean, she worked at</p> <p>hospitals, at thrift stores, at soup kitchens, at rehabilitation centers working with children, working with the disabled. That was her entire life until her husband got sick And that's when she then learned</p> <p>and died in the year 2000.</p> <p>about the extent of their finances and learned about these accounts. The accounts that are in question were established with funds that her husband inherited from his aunt who lived in Monte Carlo and died and left part of her estate to him. was not funds that were ever in the United States. a US taxpayer. It</p> <p>She was not</p> <p>She was a citizen and I think she was English</p> <p>living in Monte Carlo, and there were no tax consequences of this money. However, her husband left the money in Europe and it grew from what was not a large amount into a very significant amount of money. However, there was never any deposits put</p> <p>into this account by her husband or after his death by Mrs. Curran. Whatever money was there was left there, and And she had nothing to do with the</p> <p>that's how the funds grew.</p> <p>creation of the accounts, of depositing money into it and growing these accounts. But she did inherit these accounts.</p> <p>At his death in the year 2000 she inherited the accounts along with other funds from her late husband.</p> <p>5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 And this is where she made the mistakes. You know, we</p> <p>all make mistakes in our lives and we hope that we're not judged but just on our mistakes but we're judged on how we handle those mistakes. And her mistake was that when she</p> <p>inherited these accounts and got possession of them, or at least a beneficial interest in them, she did not handle it correctly, did not advise her US lawyers or US accountants, and had the European bankers, accountants and lawyers handle it. So there's no question that's where her mistakes were in not reporting the accounts when she inherited them. However, she tried to rectify that mistake. In the</p> <p>year 2000 she wanted to make a voluntary disclosure of all the funds in any of these accounts. On her own she contacted the They</p> <p>bankers in Europe and asked how she could disclose this.</p> <p>recommended that she obtain a tax lawyer in the United States to do this. She then retained a tax lawyer, gave him all of the information, more than sufficient, to make the voluntary disclosure according to the Internal Revenue Service programs that were available at the time. This is before the offshore So she was going</p> <p>voluntary disclosure programs were created.</p> <p>to make a regular voluntary disclosure to the IRS. Unfortunately, he waited too long, over a month, and during that period of time UBS, the bank in question, gave the names of 250 people to the Internal Revenue Service. And by</p> <p>6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 the time her voluntary disclosure came in, they had already had her name for some three to four weeks. And under the rules of</p> <p>the Internal Revenue Service if they have your name before you make the voluntary disclosure, you are not eligible for their program. So even though she tried to do a voluntary disclosure and her voluntary disclosure was filed seven days before the first amnesty program was put into effect by the Internal Revenue Service, her application was denied. And she was not</p> <p>able to because of that obtain any benefit for attempting to disclose it or any benefit from the three voluntary offshore disclosure funds that were thereafter created by the Internal Revenue Service. UBS for some reason reported 285 people out of the some 50,000 that had accounts with them, and she was one of those 250. And, of course, this caused her to be treated far And her</p> <p>differently than the overwhelming majority of people.</p> <p>report was seven days before the first offshore voluntary program went into effect. So 38,000 people went through the three offshore voluntary disclosure programs after her and received immunity from prosecution. different than her. They were also treated and penalized far They were penalized mainly at the rate of</p> <p>20 percent for the FBAR violation of the largest amount of money in the account. She was penalized by 50 percent. She</p> <p>7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 has been prosecuted criminally, indicted and arrested, and the 38,000 were not. And she has now been adjudicated a felon, and</p> <p>all those 38,000 people did not suffer that designation. The IRS created these amnesty programs called the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Fund in 2009, 2011, and 2012. The one that's been created in 2012 has no time limit. anybody from now on into the future can make a voluntary disclosure and receive immunity from prosecution. And as I So</p> <p>said, some 38,000 people have taken advantage of this. Every one of those people got advanced warning from the Internal Revenue Service to do this, but not Mrs. Curran. The IRS warned United States taxpayers the consequences of not entering the program, but not Mrs. Curran. Every one of these</p> <p>38,000 people were given a second chance three times, yet Mrs. Curran never received a second chance at all. received the benefit of any of these programs. Now, Your Honor, I know that one of the important concepts of sentencing in a tax case is deterrence, and we all know that we have a voluntary tax program and deterrence is important so people pay their taxes. However, I believe that She never</p> <p>granting her probation in this case is not inconsistent with the aims of the Internal Revenue Service and the idea or concept of deterrence. The government through the Internal Revenue Service created these amnesty programs not as a matter of deterrence.</p> <p>8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 That was not the aim of creating the program. But as the</p> <p>Internal Revenue Service commissioner Doug Shulman said, "as I said all along, the goal is to get people into the United States tax system." And so deterrence was not really the aim It was really to reintegrate these And that's why</p> <p>of any of these programs.</p> <p>people back into the United States tax system.</p> <p>I think what's important here in terms of thinking about a sentence that deterrence is not really the same as it would be in the ordinary tax case. In addition to her attempts to disclose her accounts, she also has another matter she did that I think shows her cooperation. Soon after being denied entrance into the</p> <p>program, on June 4, 2009, she agreed to meet with an Assistant US Attorney and agents of the Internal Revenue Service. that time she made a full disclosure to them. At</p> <p>Long before they</p> <p>entered into any kind of investigation or prosecution of her she gave a sworn statement -- I think it was sworn. I'm not a</p> <p>hundred percent sure -- and gave them full cooperation and described everything that she did, described every person who worked with her, gave the names of all of the bankers, the lawyers, the managers of all of the accounts, gave the dates and times and information about everything that occurred with them. And this was back, as I said, in June of 2009. And she</p> <p>did all that she could to cooperate with the United States Government.</p> <p>9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 conclude. Your Honor, some 50 plus taxpayers have been criminally prosecuted out of those 50,000, and her situation also is far different than theirs. She did not use this</p> <p>account to skim money off of a business that she was running in the United States. She did not create false business documents She</p> <p>in a United States business in order to hide her income. did not funnel money back to the United States from these</p> <p>accounts claiming they were sham loans or some other method of doing it. She did none of these things. She did not make any</p> <p>extravagant purchases.</p> <p>And so her situation is really far And yet, most of them were</p> <p>different than most of the others. sentenced to probation.</p> <p>Some with house arrest or with</p> <p>community service, but almost all were sentenced to a period of probation. And I think that's why the probation officer in</p> <p>this case has recommended probation and why the government is not objecting to it. Just two other personal matters, and then I will In our memorandum we listed out many charitable As I said, she spent her But she is not a</p> <p>works that Mrs. Curran has done.</p> <p>entire working life doing volunteer work. person who only donated money.</p> <p>This is a woman who spent her</p> <p>time and effort from feeding people in soup kitchens to visiting them in the hospitals and working with the disabled. And the one that I particularly believe is worthy of note is she worked with the Rehabilitation Center for Children</p> <p>10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 and Adults that's located here in Palm Beach. for 32 years. preschool. She worked there</p> <p>For 32 years she worked with the children in the</p> <p>And these are children who suffer from mainly</p> <p>neurological disorders, from Down's syndrome to other neurological disorders, which are incurable. And she worked</p> <p>with children trying to assist them in doing such things as we take for granted, like climbing the stairs, being able to go to the playground, trying to work with them so they could go to a normal kindergarten class. And this is very hard work. People do not want to see Most</p> <p>people don't want to do this.</p> <p>severely disabled children for which there is no cure and some of whom the families are desperate. But she spent 32 years not And I think</p> <p>just making donations but 32 years of herself.</p> <p>that's probably one of the most noteworthy things that I have seen that people do. One last matter which I think sort of sums up how seriously Mrs. Curran treats this case that's before Your Honor this afternoon. Before we first came to this courthouse she And then</p> <p>called us and asked us the address of the courthouse.</p> <p>the next time we saw her we asked her, well, why did you want to know where the courthouse was? And she said that she was so</p> <p>anxious and worried that she wanted to practice driving to this courthouse because she did not want to keep the prosecutors and the Court waiting for her and she was so afraid that she might be late. And I think that sort of sums up what her attitude</p> <p>11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 the case. said. is, what her attitude to this case is, and tells you who she is. And I would echo what the Probation Department has I would humbly ask the Court to sentence her to a period</p> <p>of probation. THE COURT: MR. BLACK: THE COURT: I had a couple of questions. Yes, sir. The account that was in Switzerland, it</p> <p>had a foundation named in it? MR. BLACK: Yes. The husband set up what was called</p> <p>a -- some type of a foundation, and at their death the money was to go to three different universities. THE COURT: The foundation wasn't giving regularly, it</p> <p>was just being held, accumulated, and then to be distributed upon their death? MR. BLACK: THE COURT: her husband's name? MR. BLACK: THE COURT: No. I guess they would have a record of them Yes. So her name wasn't on the account nor was</p> <p>as being the principals in the foundation, right? MR. BLACK: Right. They were the beneficial owners of It was in the name</p> <p>Their name was not on the case.</p> <p>of the foundation. THE COURT: But it was a revocable thing, I image.</p>...