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Tax evasion among the charges in public corruption trial

Tax evasion charges can be of many different types.

Sometimes, tax evasion is charged on its own, apart from any other offenses. We discussed such a case in our December 2 post last year, concerning a former football player with ties to Texas who bought into a bogus anti-tax argument and was convicted of tax evasion.

In other cases, tax evasion is alleged as part of a broader white-collar crime scheme that may also include conspiracy, money laundering or public corruption.

In this post, we will discuss the second type of scenario. We will take note of the trial of the former mayor of New Orleans on charges of tax evasion and several other offenses.

Besides tax evasion, the charges against C. Ray Nagin include conspiracy, bribery and money laundering.

The public corruption that the former mayor is accused of allegedly occurred as New Orleans was seeking to rebuild from the epic catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina.

Prosecutors contend that Nagin took money from contractors in return to steering city projects their way.

According to the charges, the corruption involved both cash bribes and various lavish gifts, such as all-expenses-paid trips to Jamaica and private plane trips to Las Vegas.

Closing arguments came today, after 10 days of testimony. The defense countered that the witnesses against the former mayor were motivated by their own self-interest. They were, the defense contended, seeking favorable treatment from prosecutors for themselves as part of a larger public corruption probe in New Orleans.

In short, tax evasion is only one of several offenses that have been alleged in this case.

Source: Reuters, "Graft and credibility in focus as New Orleans ex-mayor trial winds down," Kathy Finn, Feb. 10, 2014

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