Florida – A Florida attorney, Michael L. Meyer, has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion. This case, evolving from 2013 through 2021, highlights a significant illegal tax shelter scheme centered around fraudulent charitable deductions.
Meyer, based in Davie, was the person behind the ‘Ultimate Tax Plan.’ This scheme was a carefully crafted ploy to assist high-income individuals in reducing their taxable income through false charitable deductions. Meyer’s marketing portrayed the plan as a lawful strategy for clients to minimize tax liabilities by claiming deductions for donations to charities. However, these donations were anything but genuine.
Meyer’s scheme involved the preparation of standard transaction documents, creating the illusion that his clients had donated valuable property to charities he controlled. However, in reality, these clients never relinquished control over their assets. Meyer went as far as to suggest illegal methods for clients to access these ‘donated’ assets. He proposed tax-free loans and an “exit strategy” for clients to repurchase their donations at a much lower price. To add to this deceit, he sometimes even backdated documents to allow clients to claim these fictitious donations on previous tax returns.
In 2018, the Justice Department intervened, filing a civil suit against Meyer to stop the promotion of the Ultimate Tax Plan. The department issued subpoenas to Meyer’s clients for records related to the scheme. In a blatant attempt to obstruct justice, Meyer created and distributed false, backdated documents to his clients to submit to the Justice Department. He also responded to direct document requests from the department with fabricated evidence. A federal district court permanently barred Meyer from marketing, promoting, or selling the Ultimate Tax Plan in 2019.
The financial gains Meyer reaped from this fraudulent scheme were substantial. He earned over $10 million, which he extravagantly spent on a luxurious estate and an enviable collection of high-end vehicles, including Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, Mercedes Benzes, a Bentley, and a Ferrari.
Although a sentencing date is yet to be determined, each charge Meyer faces carries a maximum five-year prison sentence, along with potential supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. The sentence will be decided by a federal district court judge, taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The IRS Criminal Investigation Department is conducting an investigation into this matter.