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NRI neurosurgeon Arvind Ahuja convicted of tax fraud

PTI 27 Aug 2012, 23:42:21 IST
New York, Aug 24: Dr Arvind Ahuja, a prominent Indian-American neurosurgeon has been convicted of failing to disclose to US federal authorities that he maintained offshore HSBC bank accounts in India and France and hid about $ 8 million in these secret accounts.

Ahuja of Wisconsin was convicted by a jury on federal tax charges stemming from his failure to disclose offshore bank accounts maintained in India and in Bailiwick of Jersey, France, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said.

Ahuja managed his offshore accounts with the assistance of bankers who worked at an HSBC India representative office here.

Ahuja's trial began last week before US District Judge Charles Clevert in Milwaukee and sentencing has been scheduled for January 18, 2013.

He was convicted of one count of filing a false 2009 individual income tax return and one count of failing to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

According to evidence presented at trial, Ahuja transferred millions of dollars from bank accounts in the US to undeclared accounts located in India at HSBC bank.

He also maintained an HSBC bank account in the Bailiwick of Jersey, a British Crown dependency located off the coast of Normandy, France.

Ahuja invested the funds in these accounts in certificates of deposit, which earned more than USD 2.7 million in interest income from 2005 to 2009. He used credit and debit cards linked to his accounts to pay personal expenses while on trips to London.

According to trial evidence, Ahuja filed a false tax return in 2009 with the IRS that failed to report the interest income earned on his certificates of deposit at HSBC India and also failed to report he had signature authority over bank accounts located in India and France.

Ahuja, 50, of Greendale in Milwaukee County, is scheduled to be sentenced in January by Chief US District Judge Charles Clevert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday. He remains free on bond.

Despite the conviction, Ahuja's attorney Dan Webb called the verdict “a tremendous victory.”

The case never should have been filed, Webb was quoted as saying, as prior to being indicted, Ahuja had filed amended federal and state tax returns and paid all amounts due, together with interest and penalties.