The owner of Robert M.L. Baker III Law Offices in Santa Monica was sentenced Monday to 36 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release following imprisonment for willfully subscribing and filing false tax returns in a conspiracy to commit tax fraud.
Robert M.L. Baker III, 46, was also ordered to pay $1,140,879 in restitution to the IRS and $916,000 in restitution to a victim for a total of $2,056,879 in total restitution by Judge Otis D. Wright.
On Jan. 25, 2012, Baker III pleaded guilty to the charges.
According to the plea agreement, Baker admitted that he along with others devised a scheme to misappropriate client fees and settlements in order to evade payment of his tax obligations.
Baker utilized shell entities and trusts to hide over $900,000 in client fees and assets from the Internal Revenue Service, including a house located in Westwood.
Baker also submitted a false offer and compromise form by mail and filed false tax returns with the IRS in attempts to evade over $1Million in tax.
In furtherance of the conspiracy, Baker altered his banking practices. Baker used nominee bank accounts, converted client fees into cashier’s checks to pay personal expenses, altered and cashed checks, and directed clients and other law firms handling clients to mail and wire funds to nominee bank accounts.
As part of the plea agreement, Baker agreed to file amended corporate and individual tax returns correctly reporting gross receipts and deductions. Baker also agreed to make restitution as part of the plea agreement.
The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.