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BDO agrees to pay $50 million in tax fraud case

Chicago-based accounting firm BDO USA has admitted to criminal wrongdoing and will pay $50 million to the U.S. government for its role in a tax-shelter fraud scheme.

The Department of Justice said Wednesday that the firm has accepted responsibility for the scheme.

Between 1997 and 2003, BDO sold illegal tax shelter products target at wealthy clients that generated at least $6.5 billion in phony tax losses.

The company’s former chairman and CEO Denis Field was indicted in 2009 for leading the scheme and is awaiting retrial. Five other BDO partners or principles have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

BDO faced one count of engaging in tax fraud conspiracy. The government has agreed to defer prosecution and eventually move to dismiss the case if the firm meets specific operating conditions.

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