On his website, former San Diego attorney Christopher Rusch offers help to those who find themselves accused of tax evasion crimes by the U.S. government. “A criminal tax investigation is different than an audit,” Mr. Rusch writes. “In an audit, the IRS is attempting to collect money from you. In a criminal tax investigation, the government is preparing a case so they can can PROSECUTE you and put you in JAIL.”
These days, Rusch himself is the one federal prosecutors are trying to put in jail. Rusch and two of his clients, Stephen M. Kerr and Michael Quiel, are being prosecuted in Phoenix, Arizona in a scheme to hide millions of dollars in assets from U.S. tax authorities, including a Colorado golf course purchased with offshore funds. Rusch, 41, was arrested in January in Miami after he was kicked out of Panama at the request of the United States.
The University of San Diego School of Law graduate may not be making headlines in San Diego, but Rusch is getting a lot of attention from the Swiss banking community. Rusch is accused of maintaining secret offshore accounts at a bank identified in the indictment only as “Swiss Bank A” — revealed earlier this month to be one of Switzerland’s largest private banks, Pictet & Cie.
Pictet & Ciet, which is in the process of trying to get its North American business up and running, swiftly issued a statement saying the U.S. government had not accused it of wrongdoing.
According to these court documents, Rusch charged his clients $45,000 for what he described as “international business planning, to include international joint ventures in Europe and general corporate services.”
The indictment lays out in detail how the money got transferred to Switzerland and back tax-free through Swiss banks, Panamanian banks and Rusch’s own Interest on Lawyers Trust Account. Wikipedia defines these accounts as “a method of raising money for charitable purposes, primarily the provision of civil legal services to poor persons, through the use of interest earned on certain lawyer trust accounts.
About $2 million of this repatriated money was used to buy the Colorado National Golf Course in Erie, Colorado, the home course for CU Boulder’s men’s and women’s golf teams.