CPA pleads guilty to conspiring to promote fraudulent tax shelter scheme


Helped obtain fraudulent syndicated conservation easement tax breaks for high-income earners

Date: January 18, 2023


A Florida CPA pleaded guilty in the District of New Jersey today to conspiring to sell fraudulent tax deductions disguised as charitable deductions to high-income clients.

According to the Information and other court documents and statements made in court, Ralph B. Anderson of Naples, Florida, promoted and sold fraudulent syndicated conservation easement tax shelters that allowed high-income clients to buy tax deductions to illegally shelter their income from taxes. These illegal tax shelters facilitated high-income taxpayers in claiming inflated charitable contribution tax deductions in connection with the donation of a conservation easement over land. Between 2013 and 2019, while working as a CPA, Anderson, along with others, promoted and helped sell such fraudulent syndicated conservation easement tax shelters. To carry out the scheme, the conspirators obtained falsely inflated appraisals in order to achieve the desired amount of tax deductions. Anderson was paid more than $300,000 in commissions for his promotion and sale of the tax shelters. He also was given "free units" he could use to take false deductions for charitable contributions on his own tax returns. As a part of his guilty plea, Anderson admitted his conduct resulted in a loss of nearly $3.5 million.

Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced on June 7, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department's Tax Division made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Christopher Magnani and Richard Rolwing of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.