Billionaire Robert Brockman may have to turn over his $15 million fishing compound in Colorado and $77.9 million in a Swiss bank account to federal prosecutors.
Brockman, 79, was indicted last year in what Bloomberg described as ‘the biggest U.S. tax-evasion case ever against an individual’ after he allegedly failed to report $2 billion in income to the Internal Revenue Service.
The Texas billionaire, former CEO of the software firm Reynolds & Reynolds, also allegedly used a foreign company he ‘secretly controlled’ to buy secondary debt in the company at a discount in 2009, the outlet reported.
Bloomberg obtained court filings from March that show the government is trying to seize the 143-acre property and fishing lodge on the Frying Pan River and a trove of cash in Switzerland’s Mirabaud Bank tied to the fraud case.
Billionaire Robert Brockman may have to turn over his $15 million fishing compound in Colorado and $77.9 million in a Swiss bank account to federal prosecutors
The Frying Pan River, near Aspen, Colorado, is a world famous location for fly fishing known for producing giant rainbow and brown trout
The outlet reported that prosecutors in the United States first sought forfeiture of the Mirabaud account in October and that Swiss prosecutors have frozen more than $1 billion held in bank accounts belonging to Brockman.
The 42-page indictment against Brockman names two Colorado properties of interest in the case.
According to the indictment, Brockman paid $15 million to purchase the ‘Mountain Queen’ property located in Pitkin County on May 17, 2005.
He later spent another $15 million of funds allegedly obtained through debt fraud on the ‘Frying Pan Canyon Ranch’ in Pitkin County on December 16, 2010, according to the indictment.
Brockman allegedly spent another $8.2 million on renovations and improvements to the Frying Pan Canyon property in 2014.
It was not immediately clear if the asset forfeiture reported by Bloomberg also includes the Mountain Queen property or his Houston mansion.
Bloomberg obtained an asset-seizure affidavit filed by IRS special agent Ted Lair that alleges Brockman laundered some of his money through funds managed by billionaire Robert Smith’s private equity firm Vista Equity Partners.
Smith has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors against Brockman after he admitted to illegally hiding his own money in offshore banks, the outlet reported.
Smith, the richest black person in America with a net worth about $7 billion, has also been ordered to pay $139 million in back taxes and penalties.
Brockman and Smith have a business relationship dating back to the late 1990s, according to documents filed in connection with Smith’s non-prosecution agreement.
Brockman became an investor in Smith’s private equity fund back in 2000, first with a $300 million commitment, and later increasing it to $1 billion.
Brockman, who has pleaded not guilty to 39 counts of tax evasion, wire fraud and money laundering, lives in this Houston, Texas mansion
Prosecutors say he owns a Houston mansion worth an estimated $8 million, an Aspen, Colorado ski cabin, a Bombardier private jet and a a 209-foot yacht (pictured)
As part of his non-prosecution agreement, Smith admitted to using a nominee trustee and corporate manager to hide his control in four off-shore companies.
Brockman, who has pleaded not guilty to 39 counts of tax evasion, wire fraud and money laundering, has argued in court documents that he can no longer stand trial because he has dementia.
Prosecutors, however, believe Brockman may be faking his mental decline.
Brockman was largely unknown outside of Houston before news of his indictment broke last year. His company Reynolds and Reynolds, which he led until the indictment, provides software for car dealerships.
His trial currently hinges on a mental competency hearing scheduled for June.
Authorities had been investigating Brockman over the tax fraud allegations for several years and prosecutors claim he found out about the probe as early as 2016.
Prosecutors allege that Brockman started seeking medical evaluations for his mental health shortly after a 2018 raid on his attorney’s home in Bermuda, according to court documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
Fellow billionaire Robert Smith, who is the CEO of a private equity firm that aided in the alleged schemes, is cooperating with the investigation after turning against Brockman to avoid prosecution himself
Brockman allegedly laundered some of the fraud money through funds managed by Vista Equity Partners
A doctor found in March 2019 that Brockman had poor short-term recall. Prosecutors claim, however, that Brockman’s doctors have a conflict of interest because they work with the Baylor College of Medicine, of which the billionaire has donated millions of dollars to over the years.
They also argue that Brockman continued to head his software company during this time despite his alleged mental decline. Court documents reveal he took a cognitive test late last year and had difficulties drawing a clock, with a doctor ruling he had ‘moderate dementia’.
The case involving Brockman accuses him of hiding $2 billion in income from the IRS over two decades using a web of off-shore companies in Bermuda and St. Kitts and Nevis.
The indictment alleges Brockman appointed nominees to manage the off-shore entities for him as a means of hiding his involvement, saying he even went so far as to establish a proprietary encrypted email system and use code words such as ‘Permit,’ ‘Red fish’ and ‘Snapper’ to communicate.
The majority of his fortune is believed to be held in a trust in Bermuda that own most of his software company. Court documents show the trust has assets worth at least $7 billion.
Even though that wealth would likely see him ranked about 50th on the Forbes 400 list of billionaires, Brockman hasn’t ever appeared on the list.
Besides the Colorado properties, prosecutors claim he owns a Houston mansion worth an estimated $8 million, a Bombardier private jet and a 209-foot yacht.
As the case against Brockman continues, his former associates and employees have painted a picture of him as a penny-pinching billionaire who believed the IRS unfairly went after taxpayers.
Brockman, who has a reputation for being litigious, would stay at budget hotels and ate frozen dinners on business trips.
He would buy used furniture for his offices and banned his employees from smoking so the company could save on health insurance.
At the time of the indictment, Reynolds & Reynolds issued a statement saying the allegations were outside Brockman’s work with the company and that the company is not alleged to have participated in any wrongdoing.