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Florida doctor sentenced in white collar crime case

With tax season having just ended, many in Florida are relieved to have the burden of tax preparation off of their shoulders for another year. For one Florida physician, an investigation into his tax returns has yielded a far more stressful outcome, as he was recently sentenced for the white collar crime of tax evasion. He will soon serve time in prison for filing false tax returns at both business and personal levels.

The doctor is an Indian immigrant, and he received his medical degree in his nation of origin. He came to the United States and received a medical license in the state of Florida in 1993. He has been active in his community, including volunteering weekly in a nearby hospital that serves poverty-stricken patients. However, when challenged on the details of his tax returns, he admitted guilt in tax evasion for the year 2006. As part of a plea agreement, the doctor paid back approximately $12 million in taxes, penalties and interest.

Despite having made good on his tax obligations, the doctor was recently sentenced to two years in prison for the crime of tax evasion. He also received a fine of $50,000, and he will have to serve 200 hours of community service upon his release. The prosecution had asked the court for the maximum prison sentence in the case, which was three years.

In making the sentencing decision, the Florida judge stated that he made an effort to weigh the doctor's standing in his community, his service to others and his remarkable accomplishments against his charges. The judge shared that he had tried to find the reason why the doctor would risk all that he had accomplished to avoid paying his tax obligations, but that he was unable to determine why such a course had been taken. Because the white collar crime was not committed as part of the doctor's medical practice, he will likely be able to resume the practice of medicine when he is released from his prison term.

Source: Miami Herald, "Judge sentences wealthy South Florida doctor to two years in multimillion-dollar tax evasion case", Jay Weaver, April 27, 2015

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