Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions
Friday, April 14, 2017
Horner: Affirming tax fraud convictions
In U.S. v. Horner, No. 15-14675 (April 13, 2017), the Court rejected challenges to convictions for filing false tax returns. The Court rejected the argument that the government presented false testimony from an IRS agent. The testimony “was neither false nor misleading.” The Court also rejected the argument that the district court erroneously failed to give the jury the “good faith reliance” instruction that had been given in another case, pointing out that that this was not the “only acceptable instruction on good faith reliance.” The Court also rejected the argument that the district court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the “due diligence” obligations of tax preparers. The Court also rejected the argument that the district court erred in allowing the government to characterize the Horners’ cash deposits as “structuring.” “The evidence was highly probative in addressing the issue of the Horners’ financial savvy.” Finally, the Court rejected the argument that it was unfair to admit the defendants’ 2005 and 2006 tax returns. The Court found that these acts, though in earlier years, were part of the same set of actions through which the jury found the defendants committed tax fraud in 2007 and 2008.