A Santa Monica attorney specializing in estate planning pleaded guilty this week to filing false tax returns in an attempt to evade paying over $1 million in taxes, federal authorities said.
Robert M.L. Baker III, 46, entered into a plea agreement Tuesday in U.S. District Court, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
He admitted that he, along with others, devised a scheme to misappropriate client fees and settlements to evade payment of tax. In the plea agreement, Baker said he utilized shell entities and trusts to hide over $900,000 in client fees and assets from the IRS, including a house located in Westwood.
Baker altered his banking practices to disguise his actions, according to the plea agreement. He used nominee bank accounts, converted client fees into cashier's checks to pay personal expenses, altered and cashed checks, and directed clients and other law firms handling clients to mail and wire funds to nominee bank accounts.
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Santa Monica Attorney Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud