Bankruptcy attorney Goldberg pleads ‘guilty’ in tax evasion

High-profile Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney Randolph Goldberg pleaded guilty Friday to one count of tax evasion.

He struck a deal with federal prosecutors to serve 18 months in prison and voluntarily give up his Nevada law license for two years.

Goldberg, 49, who regularly advertised on television, was indicted by a federal grand jury in September on four counts of tax evasion over a four-year period and five counts of structuring financial transactions to avoid paying taxes.

All but the single tax evasion charge for 2008 will be dismissed at his May 23 sentencing.

Goldberg also could pay as much as $400,000 in restitution under the terms of his plea agreement, which is not binding on U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro when she hands out the sentence.

When Navarro asked Goldberg in court Friday how he wanted to plead, he replied, “Guilty as charged.”

He acknowledged he concealed law practice income from the Internal Revenue Service on his 2008 tax return.

His lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, asked Navarro for as early a sentencing date as possible because Goldberg “would like to put this behind him sooner than later.”

Afterward, Schonfeld said, “Mr. Goldberg accepts responsibility for his mistakes and looks forward to returning to his law practice with the permission of the Nevada State Bar after he serves prison time.”

Paul Camacho, special agent in charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in Las Vegas, said Goldberg’s plea sends a message to the community.

“Those who are well-versed in the law should profoundly know they are not above the law,” Camacho said. “The IRS will see to this lest anyone in similar positions think otherwise. Just look at our recent case work.”

Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden added, “It is never a good idea to try to hide your income from the IRS or falsify your tax returns. You most likely will be caught, convicted and sent to prison.”

The 18-page indictment alleged Goldberg filed false tax returns from 2005 to 2008.

He used two separate Bank of America accounts to deposit the legal fees he received from his clients but only reported the income deposited into one of the accounts to the IRS, the indictment alleged.

Between January and December 2008, according to the indictment, Goldberg structured 147 cash deposits into five Bank of America accounts totaling more than $1.1 million to evade taxes.

Goldberg, who was chastised by a federal bankruptcy judge in 2010 for violating professional standards, also has been the subject of disciplinary proceedings at the state Bar over allegations of misconduct in several bankruptcy cases.

Goldberg said in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2010 that he was filing about 200 cases a month. He estimated at the time that he had handled as many as 25,000 cases over a 13-year period.

In his television commercials soliciting bankruptcy business, Goldberg told viewers, “I’ll eliminate your problems and save your home. That’s what I do.”

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