Former president of Newell Rubbermaid sentenced for tax fraud related to offshore asset protection company

 

Defendant admitted to travelling to Canada to withdraw funds from Swiss bank account at ATMs to avoid detection

Date: January 16, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

PHILADELPHIA – Jeffrey Cooley of Toledo, OH was sentenced to one month incarceration, 12 months supervised release, and a $210,000 fine by United States District Court Judge Joshua D. Wolson for filing a false tax return which reported that Cooley had purchased an offshore trust company years after he actually did in order to evade paying appropriate taxes.

Cooley served as global president of Newell Rubbermaid from 1998 to 2004. Sometime in or around 2005, after his retirement, Cooley and others purchased an offshore trust company named Southpac Trust (BVI) Limited, an asset protection company that owned and operated a bank in the Cook Islands. According to the charges in this case, Cooley's 2012 tax return falsely reported that he had purchased Southpac in 2012, when in fact he had co-owned it continuously through nominee entities since 2005.

On October 3, 2019, Cooley pleaded guilty. In addition to the charged conduct, Cooley admitted that, after purchasing Southpac in 2005, he established an offshore bank account in Switzerland in the name of a nominee entity which allowed him to covertly receive his income from Southpac and its subsidiaries. Cooley received more than $300,000 of income into this Swiss account. In addition, in order to access these funds covertly, Cooley traveled from his home in the United States across the border into Canada multiple times to withdraw funds in cash via debit cards. Cooley no longer owns or holds any interest in Southpac.

"Every American who pays his or her taxes should be offended that a select few use anonymous offshore accounts to evade their tax liability," said Guy Ficco SAC, IRS Criminal Investigation. "We owe it to every American taxpayer to use all lawful means to identify and prosecute individuals, like Mr. Cooley, who willfully and intentionally violate their known legal duty to pay their fair share of taxes."

"This case is an example of sheer greed," said U.S. Attorney McSwain. "Cooley was already wealthy through his earnings as the president of a globally recognized company, but that simply wasn't enough for him. Instead, he felt the need to cheat in order to line his pockets through fraud. He invested in a company and then went to great lengths to hide that investment so he wouldn't have to pay his fair share of taxes. That was an intolerable affront to every honest American taxpayer."

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick J. Murray and by First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams.