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Accountant implicated in Panama Papers scandal sentenced to 3 years in prison

He pled guilty to wire fraud, money laundering.

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Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the scandal
Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the scandal
(Joe Raedle/Getty)
Updated: September 24, 2020 - 7:38pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

An American accountant implicated in the bombshell Panama Papers leak will face more than three years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy to commit tax evasion, and other charges, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. 

An as-yet anonymous whistleblower leaked the Panama Papers in 2016. The millions of pages of documents revealed in part the existence of illegal offshore shell corporations facilitated by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca; the shell corps were meant to facilitate tax evasion. 

The Justice Department said in a Thursday press release that American accountant Dick Gaffey had been sentenced to 39 months in prison due to his guilty pleadings of wire fraud, tax evasion conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and other crimes to which investigators were led by the document leak. 

For at least 18 years, the Justice Department said, Gaffey "conspired with others to defraud the United States by concealing his clients’ assets and investments, and the income generated by those assets and investments, from the IRS through fraudulent, deceitful, and dishonest means." 

Gaffey assisted clients in hiding income by a variety of means, the Justice Department said. In one instance, he "advised [a client] how to covertly repatriate approximately $3 million to the United States by reporting to the IRS a fictitious company sale that never actually occurred to evade paying the full U.S. tax amount."

In addition to his prison time, the sentencing judge ordered that Gaffey serve three years of supervised release and pay around $9 million in forfeiture and restitution fines.