Robert Brockman is facing 39 counts of charges against him and he pleaded not guilty to all of them.
In an unprecedented case, a Texas billionaire Robert Brockman has been charged on October 15 for a $2 billion tax fraud scheme by federal prosecutors. This is the largest such case against an American, according to the authorities.
He was found out with the help of 57-year-old Robert F. Smith, founder and chairman of Vista Equity Partners and also the 461st billionaire on the Forbes list.
Smith, the richest Black man in America, charitably paid off the student loan debt of the entire class of 2019 at Morehouse College, saying that he expected the graduates to "pay it forward." He paid off around $40 million in student loans. His net worth is more than $5 billion, according to the Associated Press. While Smith wanted to do some good in the world, he also owed $139 million in taxes. He has agreed to cooperate in the investigation against Brockman and pay his taxes.
"Smith’s agreement to cooperate has put him on a path away from indictment," David L. Anderson, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California said. He also appreciated Smith for stepping up even though the nature of his crimes were serious.
Anderson said the agreement showed that "it is never too late to do the right thing," he said, as per the New York Times. "Although Smith willfully and knowingly violated the law, Smith has accepted responsibility and agreed to provide complete and truthful cooperation," he said.
Brockman, 79, is the chief executive officer of Ohio-based software company Reynolds and Reynolds Co., and is accused of tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering, and other offenses, reported the Associated Press. He hid his capital gains for more than two decades through offshore entities in Bermuda and Nevis and secret bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland. Smith had helped him in hiding his money and get away scot-free, only until he wasn't caught in the web of his own lies.
"Complexity will not hide crime from law enforcement. Sophistication is not a defense to federal criminal charges," said Anderson. "We will not hesitate to prosecute the smartest guys in the room," he added.
Brockman has been indicted on 39 counts and he pleaded not guilty to all of them. Not only did he not pay taxes but he also withdrew $250 million that his late father had pledged to a small liberal arts school in Danville, Kentucky, called Centre College. He left his alma mater in a lurch even though he had once served as chairman on the board of trustees.
"Mr. Brockman has pled not guilty, and we look forward to defending him against these charges," said his attorney, Kathryn Keneally, in an email.
He had used code names like "King," "Bonefish," and "Snapper" as well as "the house," in his encrypted communication while moving and hiding funds, according to the New York Times.
James Lee, the chief of criminal investigations at the I.R.S., said the charges "disgusted" him. "These allegations should disgust every American taxpayer, as well, because the law applies to all of us when it comes to tax and paying our fair share," he said.
The company, where Brockman works, said that the charges "focus on activities Robert Brockman engaged in outside of his professional responsibilities," and washed off any accountability in the matter. Reynolds and Reynolds "is not alleged to have engaged in any wrongdoing, and we are confident in the integrity and strength of our business," the spokeswoman said.