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Hamas’ attorney, Stanley Cohen, pleads guilty to tax offenses

Hamas’ attorney, Stanley Cohen, pleads guilty to tax offenses

Ran his activist law practice off-the-books, including large cash transactions.

http://nyti.ms/1pyS6Yh - video

Stanley Cohen is an activist lawyer most identified with Hamas and other anti-Israeli causes and groups.

Late last month The Jewish Daily Forward had an extensive article about Cohen’s political journey to anti-Zionism, including representation of Hamas and Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, who was convicted last month. It appears from the timing that Cohen’s plea deal was timed to allow him to finish the al-Qaeda trial:

Cohen was indicted in August 2012 in the Northern District of New York on a variety of tax-related charges.  The Indictment is embedded at the bottom of this post, but the gist of the claims is that he ran his law practice off the books, including receiving and paying for services in cash without reporting, and failing to make tax filings and reporting for many years.

When indicted, Cohen was defiant, claiming it was a political prosecution:

…. I am an advocate for many people the government would like to silence or put in jail: Palestinian freedom fighters, Muslim preachers, North American natives living on Indian reservations, marijuana dealers, anti-war protestors, radical squatters, the homeless, “hacktivists”, anti-Zionists and everyone in between. I live my ideology in the job I do, and I try to be aggressive in vindicating the rights of clients. I have challenged the state at every opportunity. I’ll keep doing this in the Lower East Side, in Washington, DC, in the International Criminal Court in the Hague, in Israel and in the West Bank and Gaza. It is my passion….

Yesterday Cohen released a statement via Twitter to supporters that he would be pleading guilty today.   Once again, Cohen maintained the prosecution was political.  The statement reads in part:

Tomorrow will be a difficult day, but a necessary one for a number of reasons. As many of you know I am currently under indictment in two seperate US federal district courts for essentially the same allegation- impeding or obstructing the IRS. It is not a case, as some have stated, of income tax evasion. Although the government denies it, we know that the investigation began more than 10 years ago when the DOJ began to investigate and tried to charge me with material support for terrorism as a result of my work as an attorney and international law advisor for a number of so-called terrorist groups- most prominently Hamas, who I have had the great honor and privilege of working with as an attorney since 1995; it continues through this day….

Make no mistake about it, this plea will not change my commitment to truth, justice and resistance. Nor should it be seen as acquiesence to the naive and liberal notion that this government and others and their respective criminal justice systems work or are just. The fight will go on but in different ways. I would expect to spend much of my time in prison working with and assisting the unjustly accused and those prosecuted becasue of color, class or politics….

Today Cohen pleaded guilty. Here is the plea agreement, to be followed by a similar plea to other charges pending in the Southern District of New York. Sentencing is in August. In his statement, Cohen indicated he expects to do 1-3 years in prison.

While Cohen claims the prosecution was political, the factual predicate laid out in the Plea Agreement shows a sweeping disregard of the most basic tax law over a decade:

Beginning in at least 2003 and continuing through 2010, in the Northern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendant, STANLEY L. COHEN, corruptly obstructed and impeded, and endeavored to obstruct and impede, the due administration of federal internal revenue laws contained in Title 26 of the United States Code by, among other things:
a. failing to file individual and corporate income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service, as required by law, for tax years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010;
b. failing to file, and causing his law practice to not file, a Form 8300 with the Internal Revenue Service, as required by law when he or the law practice received more than $10,000 in currency in one transaction or two or more related transactions in the course of his trade or business;
c. failing to maintain books and records documenting financial information concerning the operation of Cohen’s law practice (both before and after it became an LLC), including gross receipts, income, and expenses;
d. failing to provide books, receipts, and records to his tax preparer for his law practice (both before and after it became an LLC):
e. failing to file a Form 1099 or W-2 with the Internal Revenue Service documenting compensation paid to an individual who performed services for the defendant and his law practice business during tax years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010;
f. keeping significant amounts of cash in a safe and a safe deposit box;
g. failiag to maintain bank accounts for law practice (both before and
after
it became an LLC);
h. making regular deposits of cash into personal financial accounts, often in amounts less than $10,000, thereby avoiding the filing of Currency Transaction Reports with the Internal Revenue Service;
i. instructing an individual to receive cash owed to him or the law practice and then conduct wire transfers with some of that cash in Cohen’s name and on his behalf in amounts under $10,000;
J. paying for expenses of the law practice with cash;
k. receiving non-monetary payment in exchange for legal services, and not maintaining business records of such payments and not reporting such payments
as gross receipts or income; and
l. soliciting and receiving cash payments from clients and others acting on behalf of
clients for legal services;

Stanley Cohen Plea Agreement NDNY (1)

Stanley Cohen Indictment NDNY

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Comments

It appears from the timing that Cohen’s plea deal was timed to allow him to finish the al-Qaeda trial

Conspiracy theories will abound.

Not really seeing the problem with a couple of these:

f. keeping significant amounts of cash in a safe and a safe deposit box;

What business of the Government’s is it in what form I decide to keep my assets or the assets of my customers? Now, if it was the BAR Association, saying that I was not properly protecting my clients assets by keeping them in cash in a safe, I could see that argument (it would be wrong, but it could at least be entertained).

J. paying for expenses of the law practice with cash;

Again, What business of the Governments in what form I decide to pay my bills and expenses. “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private” is what it says right on the bills. Except for ease of tracking the populace, and as long as everybody is reporting, why should the government care how bills are paid. Now, if they want to claim that somebody isn’t REPORTING the payments, that’s a different argument, but it is not what was summarized here.

L. [R]eceiving cash payments from clients and others acting on behalf of clients for legal services;

Again, so what? Why does the government care how my clients pay me? My clients pay me in cash all the time. In fact, most of my clients are so poor that they don’t HAVE a checking or savings account. They live hand-to-mouth trying to scrape by on minimum wage and social safety net programs. Now, I keep very detailed records of that cash and provide detailed invoices to my clients whenever possible.

These three lines should have been deleted from any plea agreement. Or, at the very least, there should have been a notation that the conduct alleged was not illegal or unethical without something being further alleged.

Cohen?

Cohen representing the most reprehensible of Muslim groups such as Hamas? Huh?

Don’t we have pictures of his grandfather and his grand-uncles pushing Jews into boxcars?

Chuck, you have a problem with only the three points you mentioned??

I have problems with other aspects of the charges.

“c. failing to maintain books and records documenting financial information concerning the operation of Cohen’s law practice:” To the best of my knowledge, I am not required to keep and maintain records of my business, just to report the income and pay the tax thereon. Where does the guvmit get the right to require me to read, ‘rite, or do ‘rithmetic? How can I be mandated by law to keep books and records? I wish I could remember which Heinlein novel had a character who made this argument – maybe Have Spacesuit, Will Travel?

“d. failing to provide books, receipts, and records to his tax preparer for his law practice.” Again, if I cannot be forced to read, ‘rite or do ‘rithmetic, how can it be illegal for me to provide my tax preparer with these documents?

“h. making regular deposits of cash into personal financial accounts, often in amounts less than $10,000, thereby avoiding the filing of Currency Transaction Reports with the Internal Revenue Service.” I make regular deposits of cash into my personal bank accounts. Twice a month, I make deposits. That is pretty damn regular. So this is a crime??

The bank is required to report cash deposits of over $10,000. But if I deposit less than $10K, there is no law that deposits of under $10K have to be reported. So what is the crime here? Is it now illegal to deposit less than $10K? F’ing fascists!

Not that I want to defend this schmuck, but ….

    sequester in reply to Mike45. | April 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    From the Internal Revenue Service:

    You may choose any recordkeeping system suited to your business that clearly shows your income and expenses. Except in a few cases, the law does not require any special kind of records. However, the business you are in affects the type of records you need to keep for federal tax purposes. Your recordkeeping system should also include a summary of your business transactions. This summary is ordinarily made in your business books (for example, accounting journals and ledgers). Your books must show your gross income, as well as your deductions and credits. For most small businesses, the business checkbook is the main source for entries in the business books.

    Some businesses choose to use electronic accounting software programs to capture and organize their records. In some situations, you will still need to keep original documentation for certain items. The software program you choose should meet the same basic recordkeeping principals mentioned above.

    The IRS then goes on to detail what should be kept:

    •Cash register tapes
    •Bank deposit slips
    •Receipt books
    •Invoices
    •Credit card charge slips
    •Forms 1099-MISC
    •Canceled checks
    •Cash register tape receipts
    •Credit card sales slips
    •Invoices
    •Canceled checks
    •Cash register tapes
    •Account statements
    •Credit card sales slips
    •Invoices
    •Petty cash slips for small cash payments

    It is a crime to bundle banking transactions with intent to thwarting the $10,000 transaction reporting limit.

    One does not have to agree. However just like Mr. Cohen you do so at your own risk.

Captain Keogh | April 14, 2014 at 10:36 pm

He’s such a scum bucket and he would be killed by his Hamas “buddies” if they could get at him.

How odd. He gives his enemey the ammunition.

He knows that the Feds are against him for reasons of politics (let’s just assume that he sincerely believes it to be true) and yet he continues to do the most basic things which will put him against the law for other stuff e.g. not filing tax returns.

Very strange, so far as I was able to follow the plea agreement.

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