By Ron Lee
“The Court has carefully considered the filings of the parties as well as today’s hearing and the court finds for purposes of sentencing these defendants that the Government has failed to carry its burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence, much less by clear and convincing evidence, that the tax loss exceeds zero.” – The Honorable James A. Teilborg, Judge
Phoenix, Arizona – It is unusual for a reporter to start a story simply quoting the trial court verbatim, but the ruling is the story. This was the sentencing in US v. Kerr and Quiel following a six-week long trial in Phoenix, Arizona where the defendants were charged with Income Tax Crimes, facing 35 years in prison for international tax conspiracies. The story ends with a finding that the Government did not prove beyond a preponderance that a tax debt was due and owing.
Neither the defense, represented by two of America’s top law firms, Mike Quiel by the Minns Firm, and Steve Kerr by Kimerer and Derrick, nor the Government, put their experts on the stand until the trial was over – at sentencing.
Quiel, represented by the Minns Firm, including lawyers Michael Minns and Ashley Arnett, was found not guilty of conspiracy, and the charges were dismissed on both foreign bank account indictments, but guilty on the two incorrectly prepared tax returns.
Kerr, represented by Kimerer and Derrick, including Michael Kimerer and Rhonda Neff, was also found not guilty of conspiracy but guilty on the other four counts.
The government’s argument rested on the testimony of IRS agent Deborah Saparata who claimed taxes owed in the millions.
Under Minns’ cross-examination Ms. Saparata admitted she was not a CPA, had never taken a test for any tax license, was not qualified to do banking taxation (this case dealt with Swiss Banks), had not seen the stock certificate the IRS case was based on, and had not given credit for money the lawyer Chris Rusch had stolen.
Following her, Michael Kimerer put on Sheri Betzer, a licensed and qualified CPA, who testified that Kerr owed no taxes. Michael Minns then put on Ron Braver, also a licensed and qualified CPA, with a masters degree in tax, who testified Mike Quiel owed no taxes. Minns also showed the court the government’s own computer record which showed Quiel owed no taxes.