Ex-UBS Client Kenneth Heller Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

Kenneth Heller, a disbarred lawyer charged with using an offshore UBS AG account to hide more than $26 million from the Internal Revenue Service, pleaded guilty to evading taxes.

Heller, 81, pleaded guilty to three counts of personal income tax evasion from 2006 to 2008 in a hearing today before U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan.

Heller faces as long as 15 years in prison when he’s sentenced Sept. 27. He told Castel he has memory loss and needs a kidney transplant. Based on his health, prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence below the 30 to 37 months that both sides agreed would be called for under federal sentencing guidelines.

“I did not pay the United States a substantial amount of taxes for the calendar years charged in the indictment,” Heller, reading from a statement, told the judge.

Heller was arrested in April 2010 and charged with evading more than $2.3 million in federal income taxes. He was one of seven ex-clients of Zurich-based UBS arrested on the same day and charged with hiding a total of more than $100 million from the IRS.

UBS admitted in February 2009 that it helped U.S. clients evade taxes. The bank avoided prosecution by paying a $780 million fine and turning over the names of U.S. account holders to investigators.

As part of a plea agreement, Heller agreed to pay a $9.8 million penalty to the IRS.

The case is U.S. v. Heller, 10-mg-742, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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