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Former KPMG execs charged by feds

Aug. 30, 2005 at 9:43 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Eight former KPMG LLP accounting firm officials face federal conspiracy charges in an alleged scam to help rich people avoid taxes.

The Justice Department, which characterizes the charges as the largest criminal tax fraud case in history, allegedly cost the government at least $2.5 billion, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The KPMG deals, which generated large paper losses for hundreds of rich clients between 1996 and 2002, were approved by such company leaders as Jeffrey Stein, who rose to become KPMG's deputy chairman, John Lanning, former vice chairman of tax services; and Richard Smith and Philip Wiesner, former leaders of the District-based national tax division. They were among the executives each indicted on a single count of conspiracy to evade taxes.

Charges also were filed against former KPMG partners Jeffrey Eischeid and Mark Watson, San Francisco investment advisers John Larson and Robert Pfaff, and former Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP lawyer Raymond J. Ruble.

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