October 11, 2020

Panama Papers defendants sentenced to prison

The US Department of Justice announced that Harald Joachim von der Goltz and Richard Gaffey, two defendants convicted in the Panama Papers Investigation, were recently sentenced to prison.  Judge Richard Berman of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, sentenced Von der Goltz, a former US resident and taxpayer, to 48 months in prison, and Richard Gaffey, von der Gotz’s US accountant, to 39 months in prison, for their roles in a decades-long scheme to conceal millions of dollars in taxable assets and investments from the IRS.

Von der Goltz was sentenced on September 21, 2020, after pleading guilty earlier this year to wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, false statements and other charges, for attempting to conceal his wealth with the help of Mossack Fonseca & Co., a Panamanian-based law firm, and Gaffey who set up a series of shell companies and overseas bank accounts, to hide von der Goltz’ beneficial ownership from the IRS.  Judge Berman also ordered Von der Goltz to serve three years of supervised release, forfeit $5,373,609, pay restitution of $3,448,848, and a $30,000 fine. 

Gaffey, who was sentenced on September 24, 2020, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and other charges, for helping von der Goltz and other US taxpayers evade US tax obligations with the assistance of Mossack Fonseca.  According to court documents, Gaffey falsely claimed that von der Goltz’s elderly mother, a resident of Guatemala, was the sole beneficial owner of von der Goltz’s sham companies and accounts, and submitted her name, passport information and other forms of identification to a US bank in Manhattan, in furtherance of his fraudulent scheme.  In addition to the prison term, Gaffey was order to serve three years of supervised release, pay forfeiture of $5,373,609, restitution of $3,459,315, and a $25,000 fine.  

Von der Goltz filed a Notice of Appeal on October 8, 2020, with plans to appeal his 48-month prison term.

DOJ Press Release (von der Goltz) | DOJ Press Release (Gaffey) | Notice of Appeal (von der Goltz)