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Reader Request for Pro Bono Local Counsel in ED VA (Alexandria) (10/21/21)

Anthony Verni of Verni Tax Law, here, has asked that I post the
following information and request about his need for local counsel in an FBAR collection
case (nonwillful penalty) in the Eastern District of Virginia.  Anthony is serving pro bono and seeks a local
counsel willing to serve pro bono as well.

I am a New Jersey Attorney who is interested in representing
a husband and wife, who are Virginia Residents pro bono. The suit, which was
initially filed in California, but transferred to the Eastern District of
Virginia, seeks to reduce FBAR assessments to a judgement. Treasury asserted
the Non-Willful FBAR Penalty against both the husband and wife for multiple
years, since the taxpayers exceeded the maximum amounts in the mitigation
guidelines.

The Taxpayer and his spouse entered the OVDI in 2014 and
submitted all the necessary reports, amended returns and penalty worksheet.
Unfortunately, the law firm (Hogan Lovells) and accounting firm committed
serious errors. From what I can glean, no one ever reviewed the FBARS and other
filings, prior to filing. It also appears that very little was done in terms of
follow up. Sometime in the latter part of 2016, the Law Firm withdrew from
representing the Taxpayers. The Taxpayers subsequently hired the Anaford Law
Firm out of Zurich, who in turn assigned the matter to one of its U.S.
Attorneys, Milan K. Patel.

From my review it appears that the Anaford Law Firm did
little, if anything, to either advance or protects the taxpayers’ rights. In
March of 2017 the IRS removed the taxpayers from the OVDI and thereafter
conducted an examination of the Taxpayers. 
In addition, Mr. Patel was subsequently indicted and convicted on
securities fraud and is currently serving a 15 month sentence.

In July of 2018 the IRS assessed Non Willful FBAR Penalties
against each of the Taxpayers in the amount of $421,000.

There are a number of issues that both the service and the
taxpayers never addressed including the number of accounts and the propriety of
assessing penalties against the Spouse, who neither had an interest in nor was
a signatory to any of the Foreign Financial Accounts. I need to retain local
counsel on a pro bono basis to permit me to file a motion pro hac vice and
represent these two taxpayers.  The case
is captioned as United States of America v. Waheeb G. Antakly and Maria T.
Antakly: Case Number: 1:21-cv-00801 (LO/JFA). The case is venued in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria
Division). The answer is due by the 25th of October, and as such, is time
sensitive. I had asked the taxpayers to contact the DOJ Attorney handling this
matter to see if the government will grant a short extension.

My reason for wanting to represent these taxpayers is based
upon their current financial condition and based upon the poor representation
they received thus far. I typically will handle one to two tax cases per year
on a pro bono basis. This case caught my attention since it has novel issues
pertaining to the mitigation guidelines and whether the taxpayer’s spouse, in
fact, had an interest in or was signatory to any of the foreign financial
accounts.

I can be reached at (561)531-8809 or by email at
Anthony@vernitaxlaw.com.  I sure would
appreciate it if someone could assist in this worthwhile effort. If I am unable
to secure local counsel I will be unable to assist the taxpayers.

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