A U.S. District Court acquitted Jimmy Pflueger, an 87-year-old retired auto dealer, of four federal tax fraud charges.
Pflueger, who founded a string of dealerships, was charged with several tax law violations, including filing false tax returns, hiding roughly $15 million in offshore Swiss bank accounts, and failing to pay roughly $27.5 million in taxes for the sale of Hacienda Corporate Plaza in California, according to the Hawaii Reporter. However, Pflueger claimed that his signature was forged on several tax documents and that he was unaware of any fraudulent activity. His accountant, Dennis Duban, pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges, but also implicated the retired auto dealer in his testimony.
While Pflueger escaped criminal prosecution for his alleged tax fraud, the Internal Revenue Service is planning to bring a civil lawsuit against him for unpaid back taxes, fees and interest.
Despite the end of the trial, Pflueger is still facing several legal issues, including a $5 million balance he owes to the state of Hawaii in fines for polluting the Pilaa Bay, the news source reports. Further, Pflueger was convicted on 10 felony counts in 2006 for the 1,000-ton mudslide he caused in November 2001 through illegal grading and grubbing, the Hawaii Reporter adds. As a result, he also owes $4 million to victims in a civil settlement.