Home > Department of Justice, Ohio, Tax Fraud > Tidal Wave of Attorneys and Tax Crimes

Tidal Wave of Attorneys and Tax Crimes

The curriculum vitae for attorney Leslie W. Jacobs:

  • Former President of the Ohio State Bar Association
  • Former Senior Antitrust Partner at Thompson Hine
  • Harvard Law School

Impressive. His legacy? Anything but. Yesterday, Leslie Jacobs was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for making and subscribing false personal income tax returns.

On his 2004 through 2007 personal income tax returns, Jacobs falsely inflated business expenses he incurred while serving as a partner in the Cleveland law firm of Thompson Hine, LLP. As stated in the Department of Justice press release:

Among the deductions that Jacobs improperly took were business expenses for which he was reimbursed by the firm; memberships at clubs, including the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club, the Castalia Trout Club, the Union Club and the Harvard Club, that he knew were not deductible; several meals and entertainment charges at the clubs that were personal in nature, including their son’s wedding rehearsal dinner at the Hunt Club, the florist charge at the club and a Valentine’s Day party at the club, according to court documents.

This story is a disappointing head scratcher. To put all the hard work and accomplishments at risk for what, a lesser tax liability? Can an attorney get so caught up in advising others how to act within the bounds of the law that he recklessly forgets to do the same for himself? Sadly, yes.

It’s a problem within the profession. Last week, former Sullivan and Cromwell partner John O’Brien was sentenced to two years and four months in prison for failing to pay taxes on over $10 million in partnership income earned between 2003 and 2008.

We’re talking about egregious white collar offenses committed by men who presumably charged several hundred dollars an hour for their legal advice. Sickening.

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