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HSBC customer Josephine Bhasin Criminal Sentencing Very Light
HSBC customer Josephine Bhasin was sentenced last month.
Josephine Bhasin of New York earlier pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle in Central Islip, N.Y., to filing a false 2008 individual income tax return that did not report her ownership of a bank account in India at the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC India).
Bhasin filed a false individual income tax return for 2008 that failed to include a Schedule B reporting her interest in or signature authority over foreign financial accounts at HSBC India. In 2008, Bhasin’s bank accounts at HSBC India were valued at approximately $8.3 million. The 2008 income tax return was further false because it reported, on Line 8a, interest income of only $1,257.16, whereas during 2008 Bhasin actually earned approximately $169,000 of interest income on certificates of deposit maintained at HSBC India.
Bhasin admitted that after being contacted by attorneys for the Justice Department’s Tax Division on July 15, 2010, she filed a false Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) for 2009 and a false amended tax return for 2009 that reported ownership of a foreign bank account in India holding only $49,000. In addition, Bhasin also admitted that in September 2010 she filed similar false FBARs for 2007 and 2008.
At sentencing, Bhasin received a very light sentence: no jail time, two years of probation and a $30,000 fine. Additionally, Bhasin agreed to pay a 50 percent civil penalty based on the year with the highest aggregate account balance between 2004 and 2009 for failing to file FBARs relating to her undeclared bank accounts.
Sentencing was delayed several times, with an indication that the defendant was cooperating with the government and may have provided valuable information to support other prosecutions. Bhasin was originally indicted in 2011.
Patel Law Offices has consulted with dozens of HSBC clients regarding their offshore asset compliance issues. Patel Law Offices is a law firm dedicated to helping clients resolve complicated tax, criminal tax, and international tax problems. Our firm assists (and defends) clients and their advisors to legally disclose (and legitimize) foreign accounts.