Patricia Hurtado contributed to this story.
Oil-industry investor Morris Zukerman faces more than seven years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges of evading more than $40 million in taxes.
Zukerman’s plea comes just a month after prosecutors accused the 72-year-old of aggressively seeking to evade taxes beginning in 2007, falsely claiming millions of dollars in deductions and providing false information for IRS audits. He admitted to failing to report $28 million in profits from the sale of an oil company and repeatedly lying to his accountants -- in one instance creating backdated documents to support his claim.
Artwork SchemeThe indictment alleged that Zukerman shipped paintings to addresses in Delaware and New Jersey to evade New York state sales tax on artwork that immediately went to his Park Avenue duplex in Manhattan. He didn’t plead guilty to that charge but will pay restitution to New York state of $4.6 million.
Zukerman also took a charitable deduction for money he claimed was donated to a local conservation group in Maine to acquire land on Black Island, when in reality he had simply bought the land himself, according to his guilty plea.