- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2006

Telecommunications entrepreneur Walter Anderson pleaded guilty to tax evasion and fraud yesterday in connection with what authorities said was the nation’s largest criminal tax case to date.

Anderson was indicted in 2005 on charges he evaded $200 million in federal and local taxes. Prosecutors said he used offshore corporations and bank accounts to hide income from tax collectors.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion and one count of fraud yesterday. He admitted hiding hundreds of millions of dollars in income from the Internal Revenue Service and D.C. tax collectors during 1998 and 1999.

Under a plea deal with prosecutors, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Anderson started a long-distance telecommunications business in the 1980s as the industry was being deregulated. When his first company, Mid-Atlantic Telecom, merged with another company in 1992, Anderson formed corporations in the British Virgin Islands to hide the income, prosecutors said.

Authorities said Anderson used other offshore corporations to disguise his ownership in other telecommunications companies that earned more than $450 million between 1995 and 1999.

Anderson, who authorities say didn’t file federal income tax returns from 1987 to 1993, has been held without bail since his arrest. Prosecutors say he owes $170 million in federal taxes and $40 million in D.C. income taxes.

In court documents, the government said Anderson could be linked to at least seven aliases, and officials seized from his apartment forged identification and manuals detailing ways to create fake identification and hide from authorities.

Among them were “Poof! How to Disappear and Create a New Identity” and “The ID Forger: Homemade Birth Certificates and Other Documents Explained,” the documents said.

Among the taxes owed, according to documents, are use taxes, equivalent to sales taxes, on art, jewelry and wine. The indictment says Anderson bought a painting by Salvador Dali, several paintings by Rene Magritte, an 18-karat gold bracelet and more than $47,000 in fine wines, then had them shipped to a Virginia address to avoid D.C. taxes.

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