Bentley-Driving, Real Estate-Flipping Fisher Island Family Indicted For $45 Million Tax Fraud

Categories: Crime, The Judge

Nothing makes a bleary, rain-drenched Wednesday afternoon a little more bearable quite like some good ol' schadenfreude.

Thumbnail image for fisherislandocean.jpg
photo by Averette
Creating off-shore tax havens lags just behind golf among Fisher Island's most popular leisure-time activities.
So Riptide is grateful to 77-year-old Mauricio Cohen Assor and his 46-year-old son, Leon Cohen Levy, for stepping up to the plate.

Assor and Levy -- French nationals born in Algeria and Morocco, respectively -- amassed a tidy fortune for themselves by building and reselling hotels.

They bought a $20 million Fisher Island condo, a $26 million bayfront home in Miami Beach, and $55 million in other South Beach property. They spent $188,000 on a Bentley, $67,000 on a Dodge Viper, and $700,000 on Rolls Royce Phantom, a Porsche Carrera GT, a Ferrari Testarossa, a BMW Z8 and other rides.

They even bought a helicopter! (For $1.2 million, in case you're in the market).

Unfortunately, according to the IRS, they also hid $45 million in fake businesses scattered around the globe, then coached witnesses to lie under oath and falsely filed court documents claiming they had almost no assets.

The pair were indicted for fraud today. Yeah, they're in trouble.

Prosecutors say that the father and son made millions building hotels under the Flatotel name, including a $33 million sale of a New York hotel in 2000. But the pair never filed any tax reports on that sale or others, and in fact claimed income as low as $22,500 a year.

Instead, they allegedly created shell companies from Panama to Switzerland to Lichtenstein to hide their assets.

The pair were arrested last month, and have made things worse for themselves since then. In papers filed today, prosecutors say they provided "written scripts" to several witnesses on how to lie to the courts.

The pair is also accused of lying to pretrail services, according to BusinessWeek, with Assor claiming assets of just $15,000 and Levy saying he was worth just $300.

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