“The mission of Criminal Investigation (CI) is to serve the American public by investigating potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner that fosters confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law.”
Key topics to be discussed:
Criminal Tax & Fraud Enforcement: Where Are We Now?
The Criminal Tax Case From Start to Finish
Dealing with the Undocumented Worker
Cleaning Up the Client’s Mess: Voluntary Disclosure
When Failure to File a Return Becomes Criminal
Date: June 10, 2022
Frank Agostino, Esq. | Agostino & Associates, P.C.
Frank Agostino is the founder and president of Agostino & Associates, P.C. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Agostino was an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service’s District Counsel in Springfield, Illinois and Newark, New Jersey. He also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, where he prosecuted primarily criminal tax cases. As an adjunct professor, Mr. Agostino taught tax controversy at Seton Hall University W. Paul Stillman School of Business and Rutgers School of Law. He also served as the co-director of the Rutgers Federal Tax Law Clinic.
Mr. Agostino is a frequent speaker and author on tax controversy and litigation matters. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure. Mr. Agostino is actively involved with the American Bar Association and the New York County Lawyers’ Association. Mr. Agostino is also the President of Taxpayers Assistance Corp., which provides tax and legal advice to low income taxpayers in the NY/NJ area.
Barry Fischman, CPA | Marcum LLP
Barry A. Fischman is a partner in the Firm’s New Haven, Connecticut office and a member of its National Construction, Real Estate, Business Enterprise Tax Services, High-Net-Worth Individuals, Tax Compliance, Family Wealth Services, and Trusts and Estates practice groups. He has more than 35 years of tax and consulting experience providing services primarily to closely-held businesses. He has a wide range of industry experience including construction, real estate, research and development, professional services, manufacturing and high-net-worth individuals.
Mr. Fischman represents clients before the Internal Revenue Service and the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. A frequent speaker, Mr. Fischman is often asked to present on topics regarding income taxation matters for construction companies; research and development credit opportunities; and gift, estate and asset protection planning.
Laura L. Gavioli, Esq. | Alston & Bird
Laura L. Gavioli is a partner in the Federal & International Tax Group and a member of the Tax Controversy Team. As an experienced first-chair trial lawyer, Laura is known for achieving practical, client-driven goals when defending against IRS inquiries. She has represented clients involved in some of the largest white-collar criminal tax evasion cases ever brought in the U.S. and advises clients on the IRS Whistleblower Program. She attained taxpayer victories in civil tax cases in U.S. Tax Court and federal district courts, eliminating IRS penalties.
Laura focuses her practice on the business dealings and asset holdings of U.S. taxpayers abroad. She has extensive knowledge of the IRS’s international exchange-of-information techniques, including treaty requests and other methods of cross-border cooperation among taxing authorities.
Laura has an aptitude for clearly explaining highly technical, complex tax issues. She has litigated numerous cases addressing jurisdictional questions under taxation statutes and setting precedent for statutes of limitations. Laura also advocated for multinational enterprises, relying on plain-language readings of taxation statutes to combat unjustified IRS positions, including those taken in regulations under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Eric L. Green | Green & Sklarz LLC
The focus of Attorney Eric L. Green’s practice is taxpayer representation before the IRS, Department of Justice Tax Division and state departments of revenue. He is a frequent lecturer on tax topics, including handling tax audits and tax controversies. Eric also has the weekly Tax Rep Network podcast, which can be found in Apple Podcasts, ITunes, Spotify and all other podcasting platforms. He is the author of The Accountant’s Guide to IRS Collection and The Accountant’s Guide to Resolving Tax Debts: Offers-in-Compromise, Installment Agreements & Uncollectable Status. Eric is the creator, author and lecturer for the IRS Representation Certificate Program with the University of Connecticut Business School which trains tax professionals to properly represent taxpayers before the IRS. He is a frequent lecturer for national groups, including the AICPA, NATP, ABA and CCH. Mr. Green has been quoted in CNN, the Wall Street Journal, The Street, USA Today, Consumer Reports – Finance, among other media sources, and has served as a columnist for CCH’s Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure.
Eric founded Tax Rep Network, which is an online membership group that trains and supports tax professionals building their IRS Representation practices, and he founded The New England IRS Representation Conference, which is one of the largest tax conferences in the country focused on IRS Representation and controversy hot topics. Eric is also the creator of the Tax Rep App to assist tax professionals in automating their marketing efforts.
Eric developed a national reputation by building a remarkable record of negotiating favorable settlements in thousands of civil cases against government agencies and has also been able to convince government agents and attorneys to forgo criminal charges and civilly resolve many cases. Eric was recognized as a “Connecticut Super Lawyer” in the field of taxation.
Attorney Green has served as adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law where he taught law students to handle taxpayer representation matters in the low income taxpayer clinic. Prior to practicing law, Eric served as a senior tax consultant for national and international accounting firms, including KPMG and Deloitte & Touche.
Attorney Green’s commitment to professional excellence is demonstrated by his involvement in numerous professional organizations. He is a past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Closely Held Businesses Committee, and has served as the chairman of the subcommittees on Business Succession Planning and Estate Planning. Attorney Green is a past Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Tax Section and is a Member of its Estate & Probate Section.
Eric is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, an organization in which membership is an honor reserved for those at the top of their chosen profession. The College’s members, called “Fellows,” are recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments and professional achievements and for their dedication to improving the practice of tax law. Fellows must be nominated by their peers for this honor. Self-nomination is not permitted. Each nominee must satisfy the established criteria and pass a rigorous screening process before he or she becomes a Fellow.
Attorney Green is admitted to practice in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts and is a member of the United States Tax Court Bar. Attorney Green is also a member of the Connecticut and Massachusetts Bar Associations, as well as the American Bar Association. Attorney Green received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting with a minor in International Business from Hofstra University and is an honors graduate from New England School of Law. He earned a Masters of Laws in Taxation from Boston University School of Law.
Barbara Kaplan, Esq. | Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Barbara T. Kaplan is Co-Chair of the Global Tax Practice and has been named one of the top 50 women lawyers in New York City by Super Lawyers magazine, and focuses her tax litigation practice on domestic and foreign corporations, partnerships, and individuals in federal, state, and local tax examinations, controversies and litigation, including administrative and grand jury criminal tax investigations.
Anastasia King | Asst. United States Attorney, District of Connecticut
James Lee | Chief, Director, IRS Criminal Investigation
James (Jim) Lee serves as the Chief, Criminal Investigation. In this position, he oversees a worldwide staff of approximately 3,000 employees, including 2,100 special agents in 20 Field Offices and 11 foreign countries. He leads and oversees some of the most significant investigations of financial crimes involving tax, money laundering, public corruption, cyber, ID theft, narcotics and terrorist-financing. Prior to this assignment, Jim’s executive positions included serving as the Deputy Chief of CI, Director of Field Operations-North, Director of Field Operations-South, Director of Strategy and Executive Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office. Jim has a Bachelor’s degree from Tiffin University.
Sharon L. McCarthy, Esq. | Kostelanetz & Fink LLP
Sharon L. McCarthy, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, has extensive experience representing individuals and corporations in white-collar criminal matters as well as civil and criminal tax controversies.
Walter Pagano | Eisner Advisory Group LLC
Walter Pagano is a Tax Partner with more than 35 years of diversified and relevant litigation consulting and forensic accounting experience. He has testified in federal and state courts, as well as at arbitration hearings, and has served as a federal, state, and bankruptcy court appointed forensic accountant and special fiscal agent. Walter’s experience, knowledge, and expertise enable practicing attorneys and corporate counsel to rely on his objective and independent critical thinking and judgment as a source to ascertain the financial facts in a wide variety of civil and criminal cases that have included white collar crime, internal investigations, adequacy of internal controls, commercial disputes, civil and criminal tax controversy, internal and external fraud schemes, financial statement fraud, shareholder and matrimonial disputes, guardianship litigation, accounting malpractice and third-party asset misappropriation. Walter has served as an expert witness in diverse cases such as IRS practice and procedure, breach of accounting and tax representations and warranties, damage calculations, criminal tax prosecutions, and guardianship accounting.
Prior to joining the firm, Walter served as Partner-in-Charge of Litigation Consulting and Forensic Accounting at another public accounting firm. His background also includes serving 10 years as a revenue agent with the United States Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In this position, Walter conducted forensic and tax audits of businesses and individuals, and also trained revenue agents and criminal investigation special agents in the applicable provisions of income tax law. In addition, he was an appeals officer, co-authored the IRS’ Commodity Tax Shelter Training Manual, examined abusive tax shelters, and assisted federal prosecutors as a forensic accountant in prosecuting various tax crimes.
Walter is a frequent guest speaker on topics such as forensic accounting, IRS investigations and white collar crime.
Maria Papageorgiou | Special Agent, IRS Criminal Investigation
Maria Papageorgiou is a Special Agent with the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (“IRS-CID”) sitting in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She has served in this capacity since 2002. In 2006, Special Agent Papageorgiou became the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) coordinator for the Judicial District of Connecticut. She was also responsible for developing cases and conducting outreach efforts with financial institutions in the area. Special Agent Papageorgiou has developed and conducted investigations relative to bank secrecy, tax related matters, money laundering, and asset forfeiture. Special Agent Papageorgiou formed the BSA Task force which partners with local law enforcement in an effort to work financial cases throughout the United Sates.
In 2014, Special Agent Papageorgiou was selected as the BSA Boston Field Office Coordinator and was responsible for the BSA program in the six New England states. In 2016, Special Agent Papageorgiou was selected to sit on the complex securities and white-collar squad of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). In 2021, Special Agent Papageorgiou was selected for the Washington D.C. Field Office to work with a specialty group, the Global Illicit Financial Team, which focuses on international third-party money laundering.
On multiple occasions, Special Agent Papageorgiou has received awards from the United States Attorney’s Office in conjunction with cases worked with the FBI, HSI, USPIS, SIGTARP and DCIS. In 2013, Special Agent Papageorgiou received the Chief’s award for IRS-CID which is the agency’s highest award. In 2018, Special Agent Papageorgiou received the Financial Fraud & Public Corruption Award from the United States Attorney’s Office. In 2018, Special Agent Papageorgiou received the Investigator of the Year Award from the U.S. Attorney for the Judicial District of Connecticut. Special Agent Papageorgiou is on the board of directors for the CT Chapter of ACAMS as the law enforcement liaison. In 2020, Special Agent Papageorgiou was a recipient of a FINCEN award.
Sarah E. Paul, Esq. | Eversheds Sutherland
Sarah Paul’s practice spans all areas of white-collar defense, with a particular focus on government, internal, and cross-border investigations, tax controversy, and cybersecurity and privacy law. She has extensive experience litigating complex criminal and civil cases.
Sarah joined Eversheds Sutherland from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she served for over nine years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division. As a member of the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit for nearly six years, she worked on sophisticated white-collar cases involving the investigation and prosecution of institutions and individuals for a variety of financial crimes, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, wire fraud, bank fraud, cybercrime, international money laundering, sanctions violations, securities fraud, health care fraud, and Bank Secrecy Act violations. She also served in the Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Unit, where she litigated substantial asset forfeiture matters, including significant art fraud cases. In 2019, Sarah was recognized by the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, which selected her from a nationwide pool of female federal prosecutors to receive the Top Prosecutor Award.
During her time as federal prosecutor, Sarah led numerous high-profile cross-border investigations, including an investigation resulting in the first US indictment in connection with the Panama Papers leak, an investigation resulting in a $547 million resolution with a Swiss bank and the guilty pleas of two Swiss bankers, and an investigation resulting in the guilty pleas of Cayman Islands investment brokerage and trust companies. Sarah also conducted fourteen federal jury trials, and briefed and argued multiple appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
In 2016, she became the Tax Coordinator for the Criminal Division. During her two and a half year tenure as the Tax Coordinator, she supervised all criminal tax matters in the Southern District of New York, including hundreds of investigations and dozens of publicly charged cases, and she worked extensively with the Internal Revenue Service and the Tax Division of the Department of Justice.
Prior to her time as an Assistant United States Attorney, Sarah was a defense attorney for two prominent New York law firms, where she advised clients on anticipating, managing and mitigating legal and regulatory risks related to government enforcement and represented clients in all phases of criminal and civil litigation. She also worked as a federal law clerk for the Honorable Berle Schiller in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Lisa E. Perkins, Esq. | Green & Sklarz, LLC
Lisa Perkins joined Green & Sklarz after more than 17 years with the U.S. Department of Justice. She worked for five years as a trial attorney in the Western Criminal Enforcement Section of the Tax Division, prosecuting tax crimes in the western half of the United States, then moved to Connecticut. Until January 2015, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Hartford, handling both civil and criminal litigation in federal court on behalf of the U.S. government. Her caseload included tax and financial crimes, immigration, employment discrimination, medical malpractice, Freedom of Information Act litigation and civil rights cases. Attorney Perkins is also an Assistant Clinical Professor and Associate Director of the Tax Clinic at UConn School of Law, where she supervises law students who represent low-income taxpayers before the IRS and in Tax Court.
Attorney Perkins has established a record of convincing government agents and attorneys to forgo criminal charges and civilly resolve many cases. In those cases where it was necessary for clients to either go to trial or plead guilty, Lisa has an exceptional track record of obtaining below guidelines sentences for clients.
Lisa is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, an organization in which membership is an honor reserved for those at the top of their chosen profession. The College’s members, called “Fellows,” are recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments and professional achievements and for their dedication to improving the practice of tax law. Fellows must be nominated by their peers for this honor. Self-nomination is not permitted. Each nominee must satisfy the established criteria and pass a rigorous screening process before he or she becomes a Fellow.
Attorney Perkins earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and an LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown Law.
Kristina L. Rico, Esq. | Senior Counsel, IRS Office of Chief Counsel, IRS
Is a Senior Counsel (SB/SE Area 2) in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office and Staff Attorney to the National Fraud Counsel. Kristina graduated from Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences & Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs in 2000. She received her J.D. and LL.M. in Tax from Villanova University School of Law in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Kristina began her career with the Office of Chief Counsel in 2004 working in Procedure & Administration (formerly Collections, Bankruptcy & Summonses Branch 1). In 2006, Kristina transferred to the Philadelphia SBSE office where she has tried numerous cases in the United States Tax Court and United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of PA.
Jeffrey M. Sklarz, Esq. | Green & Sklarz, LLC
Jeff’s practice is focused on representing businesses and individuals with complex financial litigation needs including: bankruptcy/bankruptcy litigation, creditor/debtor litigation, tax litigation, and commercial litigation. He regularly tries cases and appeals before Connecticut’s state and federal courts. Jeff has particular experience regarding the interplay between bankruptcy and tax law.
Jeff received his B.A. in government from Colby College, his J.D. from the University of Connecticut, School of Law, and his LL.M. (Taxation) from Boston University, Graduate Tax Program.
Jeff holds (and has held) many positions with local and national bar organizations and is a frequent writer and lecturer on topics involving bankruptcy, tax litigation and commercial litigation. Current positions include: Chair of the Bankruptcy Study and Reform Committee of the American Bar Association, Business Law Section, and Program Director for the American Bar Association, Business Law Section, Business Bankruptcy Committee. Jeff is also currently President of the New Haven Jewish Community Center.
Jeff is frequent lecturer and writer on topics involving bankruptcy and tax. He is also the co-founder of the New England IRS Representation Conference.
Sara V. Spodick, Esq. | Director, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, Quinnipiac Law School
BA, Southern Connecticut State University
JD, Quinnipiac University
LAWS 295 Tax Clinic
Law Fall 2022
LAWS 612 Advanced Tax Clinic
Law Fall 2022
LAWS 694 Tax Clinic Seminar
Law Fall 2022
Zhanna Ziering, Esq. | Moore Tax Law Group LLC
Zhanna A. Ziering, a tax controversy and litigation attorney, is a Member in the Firm’s New York office. Ms. Ziering’s practice focuses on representing individual and entity clients in civil and criminal tax disputes with federal and state governments as well as in regulatory proceedings. She defends both individual and entity taxpayers before the U.S. Tax Court, federal and state courts, and administrative agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Justice, and other federal and state government regulators.
Ms. Ziering advises taxpayers in connection with various tax issue, including those arising in connection with domestic and offshore income and assets, cryptocurrency, and U.S. tax and regulatory reporting requirements. She approaches each of her client engagements with empathy and kindness and develops a strategy for dispute resolution by taking the client’s views, needs, and resources into consideration. When faced with alternatives for dispute resolution, Ms. Ziering discusses the various available options, and the benefits and drawbacks of each such option, with the clients and works together with them to develop the approach tailored to that particular client and situation. .
Ms. Ziering strives to resolve every tax dispute that her clients are facing amicably and efficiently while zealously advocating on her clients’ behalf. Her significant experience in representing clients in various stages of a tax dispute allows her to aptly navigate the procedural hurdles and achieve best results possible under the circumstances for each client.
A well-regarded member of the legal community, Ms. Ziering is actively engaged in American Bar Association, Section of Taxation. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of Court Practice and Procedure Committee. Ms. Ziering is also a sought-after speaker and writer on various topics relating to tax controversy and litigation. She is a co-author of the Bloomberg BNA’s Tax Management Portfolio, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.
An avid supporter of the arts, Ms. Ziering had offered pro bono tax representation to artists from a diverse range of industries, such as film, music, and fashion. She also provided counsel to low-income taxpayers with a broad range of tax issues through Duke University School of Law’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and New York University School of Law’s Tax Clinic.
Ms. Ziering lives in New Jersey with her husband, two rambunctious boys, and a Chocolate Labrador, named Mr. Chance Broadway. Ms. Ziering is a native Russian speaker and insists on reading all the great Russian literature in its original language.
Welcome and Housekeeping Announcements | 8:30am – 8:35am
Criminal Tax & Fraud Enforcement: Where Are We Now? – Frank Agostino, Esq., James Lee, and Moderator – Sara V. Spodick, Esq. | 8:35am – 9:30am
IRS Leadership has been sending a clear enforcement message. The new offices of Fraud Enforcement and Promotor Investigations are making an impact, and CI has had many big cases, including billion dollar crypto-currency seizures. The panelists will address the current state of IRS Criminal Investigation, its enforcement priorities, recent prosecutions, and what practitioners should expect to see going forward.
The Criminal Tax Case From Start to Finish – Sharon McCarthy, Esq., Maria Papageorgiou, Kristen Rico, Esq., and Moderator – Eric L. Green, Esq. | 9:30am – 10:30am
This panel will review how criminal tax cases get started, how cases are worked and what the process is from start to finish. The panel will focus on the role of the Kovel accountant and when the Kovel arrangement works and does not work.
Break | 10:30am – 10:45pm
Dealing with the Undocumented Worker – Frank Agostino, Esq., Barbara Kaplan, Esq., and Moderator – Lisa Perkins, Esq. | 10:45pm – 11:45pm
Businesses that hire undocumented employees have many issues, not the least of which are payroll tax problems, Department of Labor issues and immigration violations. Our panel will walk you through the issues and what you can do for your client before the IRS shows up, and what can be done after its agents knock on the client’s door.
Lunch | 11:45pm – 12:30pm
Cryptocurrency Update – Sarah E. Paul, Esq., Barry Fischman, CPA, and Moderator – Jeffrey M. Sklarz, Esq. | 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Two recent reports suggest that a federal crackdown on cryptocurrency tax avoidance in the United States is in process. Dubbed “Operation Hidden Treasure,” the effort is “all about finding, tracing, and attributing crypto to U.S. Taxpayers.” Likewise, Commissioner Rettig specifically highlighted new cryptocurrency disclosure obligations on the Form 1040 tax return. This panel will review the current state of reporting and enforcement surrounding virtual currencies and what tax pros need to know to properly report these transactions and help their clients.
Cleaning Up the Client’s Mess: Voluntary Disclosure – Laura L. Gavioli, Esq., Walter Pagano, CPA, Zhanna Ziering, Esq., and Moderator – Eric L. Green | 2:00pm – 3:15pm
This panel will ill update you on where the IRS stands on voluntary disclosure for domestic and foreign issues and how best to use the program to save your client from their past misdeeds. They will also cover topics with the revamped IRS disclosure form 14457 and issues you need to address with the client before filing!
Break | 3:15pm – 3:30pm
When Failure to File a Return Becomes Criminal – Sharon McCarthy, Esq., Anastasia King, Maria Papageorgiou, and Moderator – Barbara Kaplan, Esq. | 3:30pm – 4:30pm
This panel will review the fundamentals of representing taxpayers in civil tax controversy by focusing on representing taxpayers who have failed to file tax returns. The program will provide an overview of the key statutes and procedures, including potential penalties, and available defenses. The discussion will review what causes the failure to file a return or several returns to move from a civil issue to a criminal issue, and what federal prosecutors look for when determining to pursue the issue as a criminal violation.