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February 27, 2023

New Jersey Attorney Indicted for Stealing From His IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Clients

On January 11, 2023, in the District of New Jersey, James R. Lisa, was indicted on three counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release dated January 12, 2023, in 2014, Lisa was retained by a family to help repatriate millions of dollars transferred by other family members to offshore bank accounts decades earlier. Lisa was also retained to help resolve the tax issues related to the repatriation of the funds. In 2015, Lisa successfully repatriated more than $6 million of the family’s funds but proceeded to falsely advise the family that the funds remained offshore. In 2017, Lisa provided $4 million of the repatriated funds to the family but continued to falsely represent that the remaining $2 million remained beyond his control.

According to the DOJ press release, Lisa falsely told the family that he successfully resolved the tax implications of repatriating the funds. In 2016, Lisa sent the family a fraudulent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Closing Agreement reflecting an agreement with the IRS for the family to pay $3 million in taxes and penalties for the repatriated funds. In 2018, Lisa sent the family another fraudulent Closing Agreement reflecting an agreement with the IRS for the family to pay $2 million in taxes and penalties because only $4 million was purportedly repatriated. In fact, the IRS never entered into these agreements, and the IRS employees who purportedly signed the documents never did so.

As noted in a DOJ press release, if convicted, each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ in prison and a fine not to exceed $250,000. Each count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory statutory penalty of two years’ in prison, which must run consecutively to any other term of imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $250,000.

Source:  The facts in this case narrative come from the following publicly available documents: D.N.J., Indict., filed Jan. 11, 2023 and DOJ Press Release dated Jan. 12, 2023.