Of all the reality shows on television, it is no coincidence that there is no reality show depicting the trials of tax attorneys. This is likely because there is hardly anything glamorous about litigating tax issues or guiding clients through tax disputes. This would hardly compete with the screaming matches and underhanded fights that most reality shows are known for.
However, if a television show (or a movie, for that matter) about tax law would be made, it would likely follow the life of Lawrence Siegel. In moves reminiscent of the movie “Catch Me If You Can,” Mr. Seigel is a former attorney and tax preparer who is currently a fugitive of justice. A 20 count criminal complaint was established based on identity theft, forgery, tax evasion and Medi-Cal fraud, among other infractions.
Besides running from the law, Mr. Seigel is accused of impersonating licensed attorneys in California, and getting wealthy people to believe in his illegal tax avoidance schemes. While charging clients high fees for what would be illegal maneuvers to avoid taxes, he convinced clients that lavish purchases from high end retailers could be classified as supplies or business expenses in an attempt to lower taxable income.
Additionally, he is alleged to have completed and filed tax returns without his clients’ knowledge, deceived IRS auditors with false corporate documents and misleading IRS investigators during tax court litigation.
Suffice it to say, the preceding story is a cautionary tale for those seeking tax advice to fully vet your next choice for a lawyer.