Washington: A federal jury has convicted an Indian American cardiologist for evading more than $16 million dollars in income taxes and filing false tax returns.
According to prosecution evidence presented at the six day trial, Pradeep Srivastava, 50, of Potomac, Maryland, conducted a huge volume of trading in stocks and stock options.
During the "bull market" of the late 1990s, the evidence showed that he earned more than $40 million in short-term capital gains, much of them from trading in stock options involving high-technology stocks such as America Online, Dell Computer, Yahoo, Qualcomm and Inktomi.
In preparation for filing his tax returns for 1998 and 1999, Srivastava provided his accountant with information about those trades that generated capital losses, but omitted providing information relating to the vast majority of his short-term capital gains.
Srivastava then filed tax returns, which omitted those capital gains and, according to trial testimony, understated his tax due by $164,756 in 1998 and $16,179,567 in 1999.
The evidence proved that in 2000, the value of Srivastava's portfolio collapsed and he incurred massive capital losses.
Disclosure of the full extent of those losses, however, would have potentially alerted the Internal Revenue Service to his massive, undisclosed short-term capital gains for 1998 and 1999, therefore, trial testimony showed that Srivastava filed a false tax return which understated his capital losses for 2000.
Srivastava faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each of two counts of tax evasion and a maximum sentence of three years in prison, and a $250,000 fine for filing a false income tax return.
US District Judge Roger W. Titus has scheduled sentencing for January 11, 2010 and placed Srivastava on home detention pending sentencing.
Judge Titus also ordered Srivastava to pledge two parcels of real estate in Potomac, Maryland, as security for his appearance.
In a related investigation, in August 2007, Srivastava agreed to pay the US $476,000 to settle claims that he fraudulently billed Medicare and the Federal Health Employees Health Benefits Programme over a three-and-a-half year period.