A qualified barrister and solicitor, who is also a licensed attorney in the US, has been found guilty by a New York Court for his part in a $14 million (£9.8m) tax fraud scheme.
A notice on the website of the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said Michael Little 'advised and helped’ an American family defraud the internal revenue service (IRS) by hiding millions in overseas bank accounts. The 67-year-old was also found guilty of failing to file his own personal tax returns, and assisting in the filing of false tax returns.
He will be sentenced on 6 September at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Little, a former capital markets specialist, was admitted to the New York bar in September 2005. In 2008, he became a qualified solicitor in the UK before transferring to the bar in 2010. He worked as a probationary tenant at Kings Bench Chambers in Bournemouth. Kings Bench Chambers and the Bar Standards Board have been contacted for comment.
He appears on the roll but does not currently hold a practising certificate. The Solicitors Regulation Authority said it would gather all the relevant information and decide on any appropriate next steps.
According to the district attorney’s notice, Little was a former business associate of investment fund president Harry Seggerman. After Seggerman’s death in 2001 Little and a Swiss lawyer, who has not been named, met his relatives in New York and advised them that Seggerman had left them around $14 million in overseas accounts.
Little then advised the family members on steps they could take to hide the assets. Various members of the Seggerman family agreed to work together with Little to repatriate the offshore funds.
Little, who lives in Hampshire, was convicted of obstructing and impeding the due administration of the internal revenue laws, failing to file personal income tax returns, willfully failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, conspiracy to defraud the US, and aiding and assisting the preparation of false tax returns.
Geoffrey Berman, attorney for the southern district of New York, said: ‘Over the course of a decade, he helped the family illegally funnel millions of dollars of that inheritance from Swiss bank accounts into the US, in order to avoid IRS detection. This case serves as a reminder that failure to pay one’s fair share of taxes can result in a felony conviction.’