Doctor Spared Prison for Tax Violations Tied to HSBC Account

A Wisconsin neurosurgeon convicted of tax charges related to an HSBC Holdings Plc account that held $8.76 million was spared prison and ordered to serve three years’ probation, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Arvind Ahuja was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Milwaukee, where he was convicted Aug. 23 of filing a false tax return and failing to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR, said IRS spokeswoman Charity Mackey. Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert Jr. to impose a prison term of 41 to 51 months.

At a weeklong trial, prosecutors said Ahuja transferred millions of dollars from the U.S. to undeclared accounts in India at HSBC, Europe’s largest bank. Ahuja earned $2.76 million in interest income on an HSBC India account that he didn’t report on his tax returns, prosecutors said in a Jan. 22 court filing. The account was valued at $8.76 million in 2009, the U.S. said.

In a crackdown on offshore tax evasion since 2008, the U.S. Justice Department has charged dozens of U.S. taxpayers as well as more than two dozen offshore bankers, lawyers and advisers. Ahuja was the first to go to trial. While he was convicted of two counts, he was acquitted of five others.

Ahuja’s attorney, Dan Webb of Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago, didn’t immediately respond to phone call and e-mail messages seeking comment on the case. Ahuja’s lawyers filed several documents with the court under seal in the past month.

The case is U.S. v. Ahuja, 11-cr-135, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin (Milwaukee).

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