DOES ANYONE EVER GO TO JAIL FOR TAX EVASION IN CANADA -

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The following comes from Les Perreaux's column in the National
Post on Aug 28, 2001
WINNIPEG - A self-styled knight of Christian orders who cited the
King James Bible as authority for his tax evasion was sentenced
yesterday to five years, eight months in prison and ordered to
pay the $2.4-million he owes the Canada Customs and Revenue
Agency.
Sir Daniel Kingsley Lear, or Ralph Swim as he was named when he
was born in Bath, N.B., 46 years ago, was convicted and sentenced
in the largest case of tax evasion in Manitoba history -- and
among the largest and strangest ever in Canada.
Lear's pyramid schemes funded a lavish lifestyle for him and his
wife in Winnipeg, buying fancy cars, fur coats and antique
furniture for a sprawling estate on the Red River.
After a trial that lasted nearly four months, a jury found that
Lear failed to pay $2.4-million in taxes on $8.4-million income.
If Lear fails to repay the taxes he owes, an extra year will be
tacked on to his sentence.
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      Tax evasion has become a widespread and costly practice.
Tax avoidance schemes cost the U.S. Treasury tens of billions of
dollars a year. And the IRS has not been particularly adept at
catching all of the offenders. In 2000, the IRS caught about $5
billion in improper tax avoidance or tax credit and refund
claims, although the General Accounting Office estimates that $20
billion to $40 billion is still uncaught.
      But there are exceptions to those who get away with it. And
if there's any lesson to be learned from Al Capone, the infamous
mobster who was ultimately sent to the big house for tax evasion
in 1930, it's that crime doesn't pay. Yet that hasn't stopped
these people from trying their luck:
         Gamblin' Man: Former major league baseball player Pete
Rose was convicted in 1990 of filing two fraudulent tax returns
and admitted concealing $300,000 of income from gambling and
baseball card shows. Rose, who was banned from baseball for
gambling in 1989, served five months in prison for the crime.
         Pinstriped Prisoner: Troubled ex-Yankee Darryl
Strawberry pleaded guilty for failing to pay taxes between 1986
and 1990. The former outfielder received a six-month sentence of
home confinement and was ordered to pay $350,000 in back taxes
and penalties.
         Giant Omission: Former New York Giant Lawrence Taylor
received three months' house arrest, five years' probation and
500 hours of community service after pleading guilty in 1997 to
failing to report $48,000 in income from a sports pub he owned in
East Rutherford, N.J., on his 1990 income tax return. He earned
$1.39 million that year.
         Paternal Problem: Steffi Graf has had her share of
problems through no fault of her own. The German tennis champ's
father, Peter Graf, was sentenced in 1997 to three years and nine
months prison for evading taxes on $6.55 million of his
daughter's tennis earnings. He was released in April 1998 after
serving more than half the sentence.
         Hot Hotelier: So-called "Queen of Mean" Leona Helmsley
was convicted of tax evasion in 1989 after being found guilty of
evading $1.2 million in federal taxes by billing $4 million in
personal expenses to her business. Among the items she billed
included a $130,000 indoor-outdoor stereo system for her mansion
that she charged as a security expense for one of her buildings.
She was sentenced to 30 months in prison, which a judge later
reduced to 21 months because of her husband Harry's failing
health. She ended up serving 18 months in prison, a month in a
halfway house and two months of house arrest in her own posh
Manhattan hotel.
         Disco Evasion: Hailing the end of '70s excess, Studio 54
owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager were sentenced to 3½ years
in prison and fined $20,000 each in 1980 after pleading guilty to
tax evasion. A throng of 3,000 celebrity studded partygoers
reportedly danced the night away at the duo's going away party
held at the club the night before they served their sentence.
Rubell died in 1989, while Schrager now owns a group of upscale
hotels.
         Madam's Miscalculation: Heidi Fleiss, former supplier of
escorts to Hollywood A-listers, was sentenced to 37 months in
prison for tax evasion and money laundering in 1995. Two years
later she pleaded guilty to attempted pandering and was given an
18-month sentence that was served concurrently with the federal
sentence. She was released from prison early for good behavior in
1999.
         Country Crooner: Willie Nelson found himself in hot
water in 1990 when the IRS seized the singer's assets, including
his 44-acre ranch and house to recoup some of the $16.7 million
he owed in penalties and interest from tax evasion charges. The
IRS charged that Nelson owed $1.6 million in back taxes for 1972
through 1978. Later, in May 1988, the IRS said he owed another
$9.4 million for 1979 through 1983. Nelson blamed his debts on
bad advice and says he was misled by his former accountants who
convinced him to invest in tax shelters.
         Rock 'n' Roll Royalty: In 1979, rock 'n' roll pioneer
Chuck Berry pleaded guilty to failing to report and pay taxes on
over $200,000 in earnings in 1973. He served a 120-day prison
sentence at a minimum security prison in Lompoc, Calif.
         Loren's Lament: In 1982, sultry Italian actress Sophia
Loren was sentenced to 30 days in a women's minimum security
prison in Caserta, Italy, for failing to report $180,000 on her
1963 income tax return. Loren, who only served 17 days of her
sentence, later called the experience hell and told NBC's Gene
Shalit, "I would never go back again. No, no. Even if I killed
somebody, I would never go back to prison."
         No Roman Holiday: Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona
must not be heeding Loren's cautionary tale because he has been
fighting with Italian authorities over some $25 million in taxes
Italian officials say he owes in back taxes from when he played
with the Napoli soccer team in the late '80s. On a visit to Rome
last year, Maradona was greeted by authorities with a writ for
tax fraud, but the star has refused to pay, maintaining that the
taxes were the team's responsibility. Naples' tax authority
rejected his latest appeal in November.
david ingram - taxman@centa.com
108-100 Park Royal South
West Vancouver, BC, CANADA, V7T 1A2
(604) 913-9133 - (604) 913-9123 www.centa.com
Cell is (604) 657-8451 (10 AM to 10 PM seven days a week)
US/Canada Real Estate Taxation Specialists
US / CANADA / MEXICO
Working Visa and Income Tax Specialists
Disclaimer:  This question has been answered without detailed
information or consultation and is to be regarded only as general
comment.   Nothing in this message is or should be construed as
advice in any particular circumstances. No contract exists
between the reader and the author and any and all non-contractual
duties are expressly denied. All readers should obtain formal
advice from a competent and appropriately qualified legal
practitioner or tax specialist in connection with personal or
business affairs such as at www.centa.com. If you forward this
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