Local attorney investigated for widespread tax 'sham' involving millions of dollars

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by Craig Cheatham

KMOV.com

Posted on January 24, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:08 AM

(KMOV) -- Federal agents have been investigating the tax shelters promoted by local attorney Philip Kaiser for eight years. The IRS called similar plans one of its "Dirty Dozen" tax scams of 2010. In a federal lawsuit against Kaiser, the United States Department of Justice called his "scheme" a "sham," that kept the government from collecting millions of dollars in tax money owed by his clients.

Two of those clients, Steve and Ronda Burchard, sued Kaiser for malpractice claiming he had intentionally misled them about the legality of their investment and never told them he was under investigation by federal agents. Last August, Kaiser was ordered to pay the Burchards $165,000 in damages. The judgement included reimbursement for the penalties and interest the Burchards were required to pay back to the federal government for being part of the allegedly illegal tax shelter. Kaiser appealed the judgement.

We attempted to interview Kaiser as he left a local mall, but he declined to address the case against him, or a federal judge's order prohibiting him from setting up or promoting similar tax shelters in the future. In our story we aired the brief on-camera encounter with Kaiser. About a week after we caught up with him, Kaiser suddenly dropped his appeal and agreed to settle the Burchards case.

As part of the judge's order, Kaiser didn't admit to any wrongdoing. He simply accepted it, and stopped what appeared to be a lucrative part of his business. Kaiser is still in "good standing" with the Missouri Bar. The Missouri Supreme Court's Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel conducts investigations of attorney misconduct, but a spokesman for the OCDC told me he was not allowed to confirm or deny Kaiser was under investigation, or if anyone has filed a complaint aganst him.

 

 

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