Venice civil rights attorney Stephen Yagman, 61, pleaded not guilty Central California Federal Court Monday, July 3rd, to charges of attempting to evade the payment of more than $100,000 in federal income taxes by concealing his assets and committing bankruptcy fraud.
The 19-count indictment was returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Thursday, June 1st. The indictment was unsealed after the conclusion Tuesday, June 22nd, of a state court jury trial in which Yagman represented a criminal defendant, according to the United States Department of Justice.
The indictment alleges that Yagman filed federal income tax returns for the tax years 1994 through 1997, but paid only a small portion of the taxes that were owed to the Internal Revenue Service. Yagman accumulated federal income tax liabilities for those four years which, with interest and penalties, totaled more than $158,000, the indictment alleges.
During those four years, Yagman also failed to pay significant amounts of federal payroll taxes owed by his then-law firm, Yagman & Yagman, P.C., justice officials alleged.
In 1999, Yagman filed for both personal and corporate bankruptcy.
The indictment charges Yagman with one count of attempting to evade the payment of taxes, one count of bankruptcy fraud and 17 counts of money laundering. The tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud counts each carry a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison. The money laundering counts each carry a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in federal prison.
Yagman surrendered to federal authorities Friday morning, June 23rd, according to a Department of Justice source.
His trial is set for Tuesday, August 15th, before U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson.