Hunter Biden charged with tax crimes in Los Angeles

FILE - Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, leaves after a court appearance, July 26, 2023, in Wilmington, Del.  Hunter Biden has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, alleging that two agents violated his right to privacy when they publicly released his tax records, claiming a federal investigation into him was improperly handled.  T(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

(Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

Hunter Biden charged with tax crimes in Los Angeles

Matt Hamilton

Dec. 7, 2023

Hunter Biden, the president’s son, was indicted Thursday in Los Angeles on several federal tax charges, marking the start of a second criminal trial that will take place during his father’s re-election campaign.

Biden, who lives in Malibu, was accused of failing to pay his taxes on time from 2016 to 2019, filing false and fraudulent tax returns in 2018 and tax evasion, according to the 56-page indictment.

The charges in the nine-count indictment cover a period when Biden was addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine, which he documented in graphic detail in a memoir that reflects on the death of his brother Beau, along with the grief and depression that left him digested. and his family.

Biden has since gotten sober, paid his taxes, plus fines and interest, and his lawyers are expected to point to his highly publicized addiction to explain his chaotic financial affairs.

But prosecutors allege that he “intentionally” failed to file and pay his taxes on time, and that, instead of paying the IRS, he spent cash on a bacchanal throughout LA involving “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing and other items of a personal nature.”

Further, prosecutors allege that when preparing 2020 tax returns, in the early months of his sobriety, Biden misclassified a litany of personal expenses from 2018 as business expenses to reduce his tax burden. According to the indictment, these expenses included tuition for his daughter and a Venmo payment to an exotic dancer.

If Biden is convicted of all charges on six felonies and three felonies, he could face a maximum sentence of 17 years in prison, although federal guidelines would call for a much lower sentence.

The case was revealed on the eve of President Biden’s arrival in Southern California for his first personal fundraising trip here since Hollywood strikes put a pause on campaign events.

Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to three federal weapons charges filed after his plea deal collapsed

The charges come months after Hunter Biden reportedly took a plea deal on tax and firearms violations. The deal would have avoided time behind bars and included immunity from additional federal charges, but it collapsed after questioning by a federal judge in Delaware. Shortly afterwards, Atty. General Merrick Garland appointed David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware, as special counsel.

Weiss has since filed a new lawsuit against Biden in Delaware over the firearms violations, accusing him of lying about his drug use in 2018 when purchasing a gun he briefly owned. Biden has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which are rarely brought as a standalone case.

The special counsel also filed the tax charges against Biden in California, claiming in a statement that the president’s son “spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle instead of paying his tax bills.”

Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, insisted that his client had long ago paid his tax debts and accused Weiss of bowing to Republican pressure by filing “unprecedented and unconstitutional gun charges.”

“Based on the facts and the law, if Hunter’s last name were anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been filed,” Lowell said, an apparent nod to millions of people who fail to pay each year. their taxes on time.

“Now, after five years of investigation with no new evidence and two years after Hunter paid his taxes in full, the U.S. Attorney has filed nine new charges, even though just months ago he had agreed to resolve this case with a pair of misdemeanors. “

Lowell noted that he had written to the special counsel’s office this week, requesting a “customary meeting” to discuss the tax investigation. “The response was that there were leaks in the media today that these charges were being filed,” Lowell said.

The indictment provides the most detailed insight into the Justice Department’s long-running investigation into Biden.

In his memoir and in several interviews, Biden has been open about the depths of his addiction and unsavory lifestyle in LA, living out of the Chateau Marmont, Hollywood Roosevelt and other luxury hotels in a haze of sex and crack-induced euphoria. ‘I never slept. There was no clock. The day turned into night and the night into day,” Biden wrote in “Beautiful Things,” in which he talks about his journey to sobriety.

Yet the grand jury indictment outlines how such sordid ordeals were carried out fiscally with $7 million in income from 2016 to 2020 from various business transactions, and uses Biden’s own words to claim discrepancies in his tax returns.

The most serious charges stem from the filing of 2018 tax returns for both Biden and his company, Owasco PC, which prosecutors allege were fraudulent and evasive.

Those returns were prepared in early 2020 by an accounting team in LA. Prosecutors describe a three-hour meeting Biden had with the accountants that year, where he reviewed the data to confirm its accuracy and used a yellow highlighter to mark expenses that should not be deducted as deductions. operating expenses.

According to the indictment, Biden failed to identify a slew of personal expenses, including the Venmo payment to an exotic dancer; $2,312.50 for a test preparation service for one of his daughters; and a $30,000 college tuition for his daughter.

The indictment makes no mention of Biden’s father, nor does it say that Biden has paid off his tax debts. Although prosecutors allege Biden “never told” his accountants in 2020 about his extensive drug and alcohol use, “which could have led to a larger investigation into his claims of hundreds of thousands of dollars in business expenses,” he had already begun discussing of his alcohol and alcohol consumption. drug addiction in public.

Times writer Stacy Perman contributed to this report.

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