A tax attorney in Walnut Creek has discovered that the US Government has recently sold a show jumping horse back to its previous owner. It was initially seized for back taxes, for it was valued at $750,000, but according to a Bloomberg report, the government apparently did not realize just how much it would cost to care for the horse and maintain its health. When the government realized this, it sold the horse back to the owner, who bought it for a mere $25,000.
Horse Seized for Back Taxes
The horse, named Lex, was initially seized by authorities after its owner was indicted by the IRS, along with four other individuals, in connection with an approximate $1.3 billion tax fraud scheme. Jack Fisher, the Atlanta accountant who owned the horse, had initially purchased the animal for his daughter, Christina. She begged authorities not to take Lex, telling them to take anything monetary, but that a living animal should not be treated that way. Christina told Bloomberg that she felt helpless and violated. She said that she was not part of her father’s business, did not owe back taxes, and was not part of the case. She stated she was completely surprised that they seized an innocent animal.
Too Expensive to Keep
Federal agents quickly realized that the cost to care for and feed the horse would fall anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000 annually, an estimate that did not include medical care. Additionally, further research indicated that the value of the horse was only about $145,000. For this reason, the US Attorney’s Office in Atlanta agreed to sell the horse back to Fisher’s daughter for $25,000. However, she was told that they could demand more if her father was eventually convicted. Fisher’s daughter was planning to ride the horse down the aisle on the day of her wedding.
Federal Authorities Rationalize Their Decision
The Justice Department released documents indicating that Jack Fisher used tax-fraud proceeds to purchase the horse. According to a Bay Area tax attorney, the documents also stated that Fisher purchased $225,000 worth of super bowl tickets and multimillion-dollar properties with money obtained via tax fraud. It is assumed that Fisher will consult an IRS tax attorney if he has not already done so already.
US authorities seizing assets and selling them is known as federal forfeiture, and the proceeds are often used to compensate fraud victims and deter others from committing the same crimes. One of the most famous examples of this is the Rita Crundwell case. Crundwell once functioned as Dixon, Illinois’ comptroller, and spent decades defrauding the city, using embezzled money to purchase show horses. Approximately $4.8 million was raised by authorities who sold off more than 150 of Crundwell’s horses. However, Fisher’s case highlights the price tag associated with maintaining assets of this kind before they are sold. In this case, federal authorities apparently didn’t think keeping the horse was worth it.
Anyone having trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, or who believes their assets may be seized for back taxes, should contact a tax attorney in Walnut Creek without delay.