Palm Beach County resident sentenced to 24 months in prison
Palm Beach County resident was sentenced to 24 months in jail for avoiding taxes and hiding funds in offshore accounts, funding his lavish lifestyle which included buying a $ 1.6million mansion of dollars at Lake Worth Beach.
Dusko Bruer, who owned and ran the profitable farm equipment company American Made Equipment, did not report $ 7.7 million in revenue from 2007 to 2014 and secretly hid nearly $ 6.3 million in banks Swiss, German, Serbian and Croatian, prosecutors said in court documents. He did not file tax returns and also filed false tax forms, evading payment of nearly $ 2.8 million to the Internal Revenue Service.
Federal Judge Kenneth Marra sentenced Bruer on Friday, also imposing two years of supervised release and the payment of taxes owed.
Bruer was accused in January 2020 of attempting to evade taxes and failing to report foreign bank or financial accounts. He pleaded guilty to both counts the following April.
The verdict is a reduction of 10 years in jail and six years of supervised release that Bruer faced prior to his guilty plea.
Bruer’s attorney, Joel Hirschhorn, said he fought for probation and special conditions, while federal prosecutors insisted on a 57-month sentence. “The judge didn’t quite cut the baby in half, but he cut it in more than half,” said Hirschhorn, a shareholder of GrayRobinson.
Bruer admitted in court that he transferred money from an account with Swiss bank Clariden Leu – which has since merged with Credit Suisse – telling the bank the money was a loan to a Member of the family. Instead, he bought the 3,200 square foot Lake Worth Beach home for his then girlfriend.
Records show that Kathryn Stieh purchased the three-bedroom house with 100 feet of frontage on the Intracoastal Waterway in August 2011. The house was built in 1962. Stieh transferred ownership to Bruer and herself in 2013. In 2015, title reverted to Stieh as the sole owner.
Hirschhorn said he had seen no indication the government would go after the property in a forfeiture or tax lien.
In some of his other lavish expenses, Bruer covered $ 21,000 in fees for a New York condominium unit owned by a family member, and paid $ 255,000 for a property in Serbia, he said. admitted in judicial deposits.
Prosecutor’s documents also indicate that Bruer spent $ 370,000 to buy, register, moor and maintain a 54-foot yacht, and paid $ 1.4 million for a 90-foot yacht.
Although Bruer “skimmed” his business funds and secretly hid them abroad, it’s important to note that this was legally earned income, Hirschhorn said. “It was not drug money or money made by defrauding people,” he added.
Hirschhorn called Bruer a shrewd businessman, extremely remorseful and in part a victim of “tragic” circumstances. Bruer had moved to the United States in his youth from his native Croatia after his mother died and his father was seriously injured in a car accident. He faced other downturns, including a divorce that left him depressed. “He decided to self-heal through a playboy lifestyle, which never works,” Hirschhorn said. “While none of this is an excuse, it is an explanation.”
This is not the first time that South Florida real estate has been linked to criminal charges, although other cases allege funds were obtained illegally.
A unit of the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach was used as payment to one of the indicted money launderers in 2018 in a $ 1.2 billion scheme to hijack the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA, prosecutors accused.
Authorities last summer also sought to seize a penthouse in a condominium tower in downtown Miami at 900 Biscayne Boulevard, which was allegedly purchased by the son of the President of the Republic of the Congo with funds drawn from the state-owned oil company, according to a civil confiscation complaint.