Zukerman gets five years for tax fraud



CRANBERRY ISLES — Islesford summer resident Morris Zukerman was sentenced Tuesday to 70 months in prison for engaging in “multi-year tax fraud schemes,” evading more than $45 million in income and sales taxes, according to a press statement from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Zukerman, 72, who owns energy investment companies and whose primary residence is in New York, pled guilty to the charges last June. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres.

“While amassing a personal fortune … Morris Zukerman cheated on his taxes for years, illegally scheming to evade almost every one of his tax liabilities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim.

Among the charges against Zukerman was that he fraudulently claimed a $1 million tax deduction in connection with his purchase of 240 acres of property on Black Island in the town of Frenchboro.

“Zukerman was enlisted to purchase the Black Island property by Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), [which] was seeking to orchestrate the purchase for conservation purposes,” according to the statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“After considering making a charitable contribution to MCHT to allow MCHT to purchase the property, Zukerman decided instead to purchase the land … for the benefit of himself and his family for $1 million.”

But he falsely claimed the purchase price as a contribution to MCHT on his tax returns.

Zukerman also failed to report a profit of $130 million from the sale of an oil company, “created phony and backdated documents and shipped paintings to addresses in Delaware and New Jersey to avoid New York taxes on artwork that hangs in his Park Avenue duplex,” Bloomberg News reported at the time of his indictment last May.

Zukerman and his wife, Karen, own a home on an 11.1-acre lot with ocean frontage on Islesford. The property is assessed for tax purposes at $2.48 million.

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