Oct. 17 — A federal grand jury has indicted Texas billionaire Robert Brockman in a decades-long, $2 billion tax fraud scheme.
A federal grand jury in San Francisco returned a 39 count indictment against Brockman on Thursday, a Department of Justice statement said.
Brockman, a 79-year-old resident of Houston, Texas, and Pitkin County, Colorado, has been CEO of an Ohio-based software company, Reynolds and Reynolds, that makes software for car dealerships, since a 2006 merger with Houston-based Universal Computer Systems, according to the indictment.
Tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering, and other offenses are among the charges officials announced. The charges stem from alleged decades-long scheme to hide approximately $2 billion in income from the IRS and to defraud investors in the software’s company’s debt securities.
“Today’s indictment reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment to finding and prosecuting the costliest and most sophisticated tax crimes in the United States,” Principal Deputy Assistant General of the Tax Division Richard Zuckerman said in a statement.
Along with the tax offenses, the indictment alleges that Brockman engaged in a fraudulent scheme to obtain approximately $67.8 million in the software company’s debt securities.
In a virtual hearing Thursday, Brockman pleaded not guilty on all counts and was released on $1 million bond, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“We look forward to defending him against these charges,” Brockman’s lawyer Kathryn Keneally said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.
Brockman used a “web of offshore entities” in Bermuda and Nevis to carry out the alleged scheme, according to the indictment. He also directed untaxed capital gains incomes to secret bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland.
According to the indictment, Brockman backdated documents and used encrypted code words to communicate with offshore money handlers. Among the code names, were fish-themed names like “Redfish,” “Bonefish,” and “Snapper,” according to the indictment.
A spokesman for Reynolds and Reynolds told The Washington Post that the company “is not alleged to have engaged in any wrongdoing, and we are confident in the integrity and strength of our business” noting that Brockman’s actions occurred “outside of his professional responsibilities.”
Witness and co-conspirator Robert F. Smith, a founder of Vista Equity Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity fund with a single investor, Brockman, bolstered the case against Brockman, The Post reported. To avoid taxes, Smith helped Brockman hide profits earned through Vista in offshore accounts, according to prosecutors.
Brockman is a Marine veteran who started out his career working in marketing at Ford Motor and later worked as an IBM salesman before founding Universal Computer Systems in the 1970s and leading the company through its 2006 acquisition by Reynolds and Reynolds.