Real estate mogul Asher Roshan Zamir has settled a $1 million whistleblower suit for cheating on his taxes.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced yesterday that an investigation by his office found that Roshan Zamir wrongfully deferred payment of New York State and local income taxes by disguising withdrawals of $3.5 million from a like-kind exchange and by disguising $5 million in equity contributions as loans.
Federal law allows a seller of real property to defer paying income taxes on certain capital gains when he exchanges it for ‘like-kind’ real property, under certain conditions.
A whistleblower tipped off the AG that Roshanzamir, principal of the real estate acquisition and investment firm, Zamir Equities LLC, carried out what’s dubbed a ‘drop and swap’ section 1031 like-kind exchange of real estate properties, then wrongfully deferred payment of state and local taxes.
“There has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or how powerful, and that includes big developers paying their fair share of taxes,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
“When the rich and powerful avoid paying their taxes, the burden unfairly falls on middle class New Yorkers and that is something I will not accept.”
The settlement is the latest tax-related recovery resulting from an action filed under the New York False Claims Act.
The Act is one of the state’s most powerful civil fraud enforcement tools because it allows whistleblowers and the government to take legal action against companies or individuals that defraud the State or local governments. Persons found liable under the False Claims Act must pay treble damages, penalties, and attorneys’ fees.
Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers may be eligible to receive up to 30 percent of any money recovered by the government as a result of information they provide.
The whistleblower in this action will receive $200,000 from the settlement proceeds.
Zamir Equities did not respond to a request for comment.