Sunday, May 14, 2006

Kozlowski Sales Tax Deal

Dennis Kozlowski, the jailed former Tyco CEO, has agreed to pay approximately $3 million in sales tax, interest, and penalties to avoid further prosecution. (He also agreed to pay about $17 million in back income taxes.) Art dealer Christine Berry had testified in the earlier trial that Kozlowski bought more than $14 million worth of paintings and had the invoices sent to Tyco's offices in New Hampshire, though the paintings actually went to Kozlowski's apartment in Manhattan. A memo from Berry to the shipping company showed how blatant the fraud was: "Here is a list of the five paintings to go to NH (wink, wink). Please make cardboard boxes or use crates to match the piece count. Cheers & thanks.'' Tyco prosecutor John Moscow makes an appearance to remind us that the sales tax evasion was the catalyst to the entire prosecution: "This is where we started four years ago, when we first looked at the sales tax due on the paintings and discovered the man who could afford $14 million for art was cheating on the 8.25 percent sales tax." So trying to save a million bucks or so in sales tax, Kozlowski ends up serving 8-25 years in (state!) prison and paying well over $100 million in restitution and back taxes (and who knows how much in legal fees). And counting. Think he'd like to have that one back?