Billionaire Robert Brockman, charged in the largest tax evasion case in U.S. history, is dead at age 81, halting his trial.
In June 2022, the former CEO was ruled competent to stand trial in the largest tax evasion case to ever be filed in United States. This ruling came despite arguments of incompetence from his defense attorneys.
According to a Bloomberg report at the time, Brockman was accused of evading taxes on $2.1 billion of income.
It has now been confirmed that 81-year-old Brockman has passed away. Per NBC News:
Brockman's death was confirmed Saturday by his lead attorney, Kathy Keneally. Additional details and the cause of death were not immediately available.
Prior to federal charges being filed, Brockman had been under investigation by the United States Justice Department for five years, ultimately leading to his indictment on 39 counts of tax evasion and money laundering. He was accused of hiding $2 billion in the Caribbean over a two-decade period.
In response to the dozens of charges, Brockman's attorneys asserted that dementia, related to both Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, rendering him incapable of assisting in his own defense.
Upon consideration of all of the evidence presented in an eight-day competency hearing, on May 23, 2022, U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. ruled that Brockman was competent, writing, "The court finds that despite Brockman's recent health problems, the government has met its burden of establishing that Brockman is competent to stand trial."
Hanks's assessment continued, noting that the octogenarian has been "exaggerating his symptoms of severe dementia and his cognitive abilities are not as poor as reflected by his cognitive test results."
The case against Houston, Texas native Brockman revolved around an investment in Vista Equity Partners that he made in the year 2000. That investment grew to at least $1 billion on which he failed to pay taxes, instead establishing a complex charitable trust structure in Switzerland, Bermuda, and Nevis as a tax shelter. Brockman's efforts at hiding his money, which encompassed 39 counts, included falsifying documents and encrypting communications. He is also accused of buying back his company's debt illegally.
If you are interested in learning more about this groundbreaking tax evasion trial, the case number is U.S. v. Brockman, 21-cr-09, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).
Now that Brockman has passed, the trial, of course, will not proceed.
What are your thoughts on Brockman's death before he could stand trial?
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